I have spent the past few days completely alone. Except for the constant company of my two dogs, I have taken the past few days to hunker down just by myself.
We have had what is almost a real little “cabin in the woods” for quite some time. Due to the boys’ growing weekend schedules and then an awful flood that destroyed everything – I mean even the last dish towel, the little house sat vacant for the last few years. Finally, over the past couple of years I’ve been able to have a little fun slowly rebuilding and renovating on a shoe string budget, getting pretty creative hunting and gathering making over most everything. So, now with all of our schedules on new paths, I’m hoping we can make use of some time here.
After moving the Third (and last) Son into his new college digs I decided I would take some time to be by myself to see how I would manage and figure out this new “being alone” thing. I’ve had many mixed emotions about my “what’s next” phase. Everything I read, hear and know tells me to simply be still. Listen. Sit in it.
So, that’s what I have been doing. Among a few other things, because, who am I kidding? I do have work, but thankfully since we are in a pandemic, it affords me an opportunity to work remotely. And I do enjoy “doing”. I love to have little projects. And making and completing lists just makes me happy. Even if the list is only two things or if it is full of things that are not life giving, curing cancer or make any sense to anyone else.
So, here I am. In the quiet. And it’s not too bad. I haven’t gotten stir crazy yet. In fact, when my Second Son called yesterday and I told him what I was up to, he didn’t bat an eye. He thought I’d have absolutely no trouble and would always have plenty to occupy and interest me.
Here are a few realisations:
- This is the longest I have been on my own in 24 years. (I remember how I used to envy my husband when he would be away on work trips. I thought just one night in a motel room would be Heaven)
- I don’t feel as if I am missing out. With so much unrest in my city, and so many things being closed during this time, I am happy to be out of the mix.
- I could keep walking. Explanation: One afternoon I was walking the dogs and after about 45 minutes my head told me I should be getting back home. Then I realized I didn’t have to prepare dinner for anyone, answer to anyone or be back for any reason at all. Mind blowing. So, we kept walking for another 45 minutes.
- The evenings can be too quiet. I found how easy it would be to turn on Netflix and pour a glass of wine and veg -or numb- out. However, I do know that was not what this experience is about and that can lead to a slippery slope. So a little discipline is required when there’s no one for accountability.
- The space opened up so much room to create. This was such a surprise. My content here has been pretty stale (and I realize that) but in just a few days I came up with so many things I wanted to say and write and share. Beware as you may get really sick of me after this little retreat!
- Even with no one watching, keeping up with a partial routine works best for me. I still got up at the same time, or so, in the mornings, had my coffee and quiet time in my favourite spot then got in a good workout. For me, a little structure is best and it doesn’t matter if I am completely alone or with a crowd.
- It is nice, and a luxury, to have the quiet to process, think, form ideas, and consider what may or may not have been niggling at you. Going away for days on end is not necessary. It does not require living like a monk or even being alone to create the space to process. Oftentimes sitting in the car, in the bath tub, on a walk, or in the morning before the house stirs can be the space one needs to get a little stillness.
- The grass is greener. I am beginning to get a little antsy and think I need to get back home (that’s just old habits I know because there is absolutely nothing there waiting for me or to be done) and the minute I do return I know I’ll wish I was right back here.
- Sometimes I do need some human interaction. Yesterday I found myself at the hardware store in the next town over just so I could have a little human interaction. (My excuse was that I needed a few things for the house, but I’m being completely transparent because those things could have waited)
These are just a few of the things that come to mind. I have a few others that can wait or that would bore you to tears, if you aren’t already grabbing a tissue or yawning. Here are a few scenes . . .
So, while I did get some home projects done, finished a painting for one of my sons, came up with several new projects, wrote posts and recorded new videos, I did not in any way “figure out my life” as a friend jokingly asked. I did appreciate and enjoy being alone. I think I can do it without turning into a hermit.
I do know that if you are by yourself and do not have a partner, it’s incredibly important to figure out being content and happy with yourself. Regardless of what brings you to this point you need to know that you come first. When that is complete and in place, everything else can take care of itself. (and by saying this I am in no way saying I have trekked over that mountain, figured this all out and have found the glory side).
However, I do know that any new time, season or life change brings its own opportunity to pivot. This is the time for your resilience to break through and move you forward.
*I’m still working on having a meal out in public alone. That one still gets me (;.
**Also, I will admit this was not at all a “silent” retreat. My sweet dogs got an earful.