I was never the type of person who liked being by herself. Perhaps it's because I am an only child. I always had lots of friends, but spent a fair amount of time home alone. I hated it. I loved when my parents came home from work, was happy to go to a friend's house or have someone come over mine, anything to avoid hours alone. I was resourceful, of course. I've always been an avid reader. I fancied myself a writer when I was young and could spend hours writing poems filled with what I hoped was teenage angst. I watched t.v. , played videogames. I made do. But still, I hated being alone. And this feeling persisted - in high school, in college, in law school, even when I got married.
My spouse was someone who relished his time alone and I just didn't get it. I always thought, "why would he rather be by himself than with me? " I didn't get that this wasn't the right question to ask. And I never got it...until we had kids. And then I was, of course, never alone. Yes, I was fortunate to have the choice to stay home with them, but it meant that I was never without them. And if it wasn't me and my girls, it was me, my girls and my husband - whom I also undoubtedly love dearly But it was never just me. I was never alone. I never had time. To just be. By myself.
And suddenly, perhaps because I never had it, that was all I wanted. Quiet moments alone. No children. No grown-ups. Just me. And though these moments were rare, I found them whenever I could. And I relished the solitude. I didn't have to talk to anybody or tend to anyone. It was gloriously decadent. For the first time in my life, there was no better sound than that of silence. I couldn't wait for people to leave me be so that I could be alone. Even now, with my girls a bit older and not always around, I still need to have that time. I need it to decompress. I need it to breathe. I need it to regroup. I need it to be me.
I find that sometimes people don't understand. People get that you need time away from your kids, but they don't always understand why you need time away from them too. They think, as I used to, "why would you rather be alone, when you could be with me?" And I can't really explain it, but I just know I need it. I worry that people find me anti-social. Everyone will be going somewhere, doing something, while quietly, somewhat abashedly, I hang back. I say, "No, thanks." I hope that people understand, but know that if they don't, I can't really do much about it.
There are many, many times that I want to be with my friends, and my children, and my family, and my spouse; that I want to be surrounded by lots of noise, and laughter, and people and chatter, but just not all the time. And that's not a reflection of them, but on me. I just need that time.
So today, while on vacation, everyone - friends and family included, headed off to the beach. And I opted out, with the blessing of my husband, who, of course, totally gets it. So here I am, sitting on the couch on the porch, a cool breeze in the air, just enjoying a little time alone. And I am loving every minute of it.