I’ve always been one to enjoy some solitude. I don’t mind being alone. When I worked out of an office, away from my family for most of the day, I often spent my lunch hours alone. I’d go to a store, grab something to eat, or park my car somewhere and just enjoy the company of my own thoughts. And when I came home, I was all theirs.
Now I am never alone. Never. I am always with the kids, and I am always with work. Don’t get me wrong, working from home is great. It has un-complicated our lives in so many ways. My head still spins when I think about life before. But, with every good thing, there usually comes a little baggage. For me, I have lost my solitude.
I used to think that when I was office-working and venturing out by myself, I was simply making the most of the situation. I never knew I needed alone time for my mental health. But as I round the corner, heading into the year mark of home-office-working, I am realizing that I’ve got to be more proactive about taking time to be with me.
Last night I tucked the kids in bed, grabbed the iPod Shuffle that Ryan and I share, and asked Ryan to hang out on the porch while I walked around the block a few times. I wanted him to be able to verify my alive-ness with every lap. I’m a little overly-cautious that way. After all, I live in a very dangerous place—the suburbs. (I attribute this fear entirely to the unhealthy amount of Lifetime made-for-TV movies I watched during my first year of college.)
I put the headphones in and started on my way, and I’m not kidding when I tell you that what I experienced was blissful, peaceful, and completely therapeutic. I walked and walked and walked and walked. I even ran sporadically, which came as a shock to me because I’ve always reserved running for special occasions only. Like being chased by a mountain lion. I breathed in and out. I closed my eyes half the time, I was so intoxicated with my aloneness.
After exhausting the cooperation of my legs, and exhausting my finger from pushing the skip button over countless Bob Dylan songs (Honey, I love Dylan too, but there’s really an unfair ratio), I came home and sat on my cement steps. Ryan was inside talking on the phone and had left the door open. I waved at him (to let him know I was still alive) and laid back on the cool concrete. I kept the music blaring and stared at the stars and an airplane flying overhead.
Finally, I came back in. To my house. To my office. To my jobs, big and little. To my family. To my laptop. To a moth that flew in while the door was open. I was renewed and all it took was a little night air, some good tunes, and time with the only person who can make me sane: me.
(P.S. Ten thousand bonus points if you can name the commercial that inspired this title.)