I spent a lot of time alone when I was young. I had a rich imaginary life and enjoyed the solitude to slip into other roles and to create stories. For the last 30 years, I have had little alone time that belonged to me. I am alone often for work but that time does not belong to me. For thirty years, I have been working or going to school, and raising a family, and cooking and cleaning, driving kids to swimming, soccer and hockey. For thirty years, I have fantasized about time to myself; time alone in a cabin, to write, to think, to simply be.
And now, I am alone often, on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. The kids (who are 21 and 17 now) are out at friend’s houses, or a movie, or work, or school. My husband is on work trips for weeks at a time. So, it is just me, the cat and the dog in a quiet, empty house. Part of me has been panicing about this over the last year; feeling lonely; feeling that there is something wrong with being alone; feeling like I should be busy with friends. But that is changing…
I am starting to enjoy this quiet time. I put a load of laundry on and read the paper over my coffee. I do the dishes with music on, then read a book in the hammock. I tidy the bathroom cupboard then make a cup of tea…. There are a list of things that need to be done and a list of people I ought to call, but I just can’t bring myself to do them. I just want to be; I just want to enjoy this quiet time where I do what I feel like doing when I feel like doing it.
I have joked with other moms in the empty nest transition stage, “I used to have a full life but I can’t remember what I used to do before I had children” to nods of understanding. But as I relax into the solitude, it is coming back to me. I used to read books, meditate, go to Yoga classes, paint, have friends over for meals, go out to movies…
Right now, I don’t want to do much on weekends. I just want to recuperate from crazy weeks spent working and commuting, but that will change. Something will shift, but today, I am relishing the quiet of this house, the calm in my mind, and the peace in the moment. I am starting to understand what comes after children; it is a well earned break from the physical and emotional demands of mothering. It is time to claim back some time and energy for me. It is an opportunity to re-claim an internal life. It is far from the end.
what a wonderful thing that you recognize it and have begun to claim it! it’s inspiring i’m sure to many who might believe it’s wrong to take a break or have time to themselves.
I loved it once my Children had left home.. and finding those moments of ME Time are very important.. thank you for this lovely sharing of your experience..
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