Have you ever had the urge to get away by yourself? Just luxuriate in your own company? I recently spent a weekend alone, which was…okay…incredible. And afterwards, I realized it helped in 8 vital ways…
First, I didn’t have to go far. I travelled thirty minutes to a beautiful seaside inn on Long Island Sound. I had a lovely view of the water and because I went on Thursday and Friday nights, rates were cheaper.
I could’ve saved money and picked a boring business hotel, but that’s not what this was about. I wanted somewhere beautiful, restorative, and inspirational. I wanted to treat myself. If I was going to do this, I wanted to do it right.
It felt adult. Checking in. Having luggage brought to my room. Tipping the bellman. After 35 years, these are things I’m used to having done by my more worldly, well-travelled husband. I’m not used to navigating the world alone.
Yet later, as I sat on that big, comfortable bed I realized I liked it. I wondered why I hadn’t done it more often, especially when the kids were younger and I could’ve used this break.
It’s the right time of life. Middle-aged females are in that sweet spot – kids older, more freedom, and with luck, we still have our health. There’s something “anything goes” about this time. If we don’t start pushing the envelope and exploring who we are now…when will we? Life at this time is like fine, aged wine. Pull out a bottle and drink up!
I can’t think of anything sadder than getting to the nursing home and thinking, “If only.” If only we had taken a chance. If only we had explored who we were on our own, not only in the roles of wife and mother. If only we had allowed ourselves adventures.
Solitude is important. Anna Morrow Lindberg, wife of aviator Charles Lindberg, occasionally had solo weekends and sometimes weeks by herself. She called this time “sinking into oneself” and believed it was vital for women. She wrote the bestseller “A Gift from the Sea” about time alone.
Mother of six (including the famous kidnapped Lindbergh baby), she felt solitude essential in finding our true essence. This in turn breeds confidence. We realize we’re capable of much more than we knew.
You learn about yourself. I always knew I was an introvert with no problem spending tons of time alone. I love reading and writing. But I also learned I need people and was grateful I booked dinner both nights with friends.
I thought I’d sleep late but rose at 7:00 a.m. each morning with coffee in my room. Everything was quiet and still. I wrote in my journal, read, took long walks, and sometimes wondered what was going on back home. A few times I sighed with contentment. I liked it so much, I felt guilty.
It feels indulgent, but it’s not. Sometimes it’s necessary to step out of our lives. And it’s different than staying home alone for the weekend. In the house there’s always laundry, cooking and cleaning. The dog has to be walked and the cat fed. At home, even by yourself a few days, you’re still in charge. And that’s a different feeling than being untethered somewhere else.
To get the full effect of solitude, you have to go somewhere without distractions. Then you’re able to concentrate on what you love. You’re free to listen to your inner voice.
Going away makes me appreciate what I have. After two days I came back refreshed to my beloved home. My husband and two sons did a surprisingly good job keeping the home fires burning. “How was your time away?” Randy asked, as I started to unpack. I gave him a kiss. “It was just what I needed. Thank you.”
I realized then how he’s always supported my growth in life. I’m grateful and lucky.
It whets my appetite for more. Now I’m working my way up to somewhere further, maybe even a solo stay in Manhattan. Beyond that…. who knows? This weekend was simple, but it’s the first chapter of what I hope will be many.
My husband’s burnt out on travel. One hundred business flights a year will do that. So that leaves me, at least for now, to my own devices. What’s next? California? Paris? India?
Sigh. The world beckons.
Is it time you had your own private adventure? Why not? Comments are always welcome and if you’re so inclined, please share. Thank you!