Make Plans With Yourself

I love my family deeply. Yet as an only child and as someone who had only a cat as a roommate for a decade, I also crave solitude. It’s a conflict, the desire to spend all of my time with my family and spend so much time alone.

In grad school I started a tradition of weekly dates with myself. Every Thursday night I was “busy”. Busy being alone. When asked, I would explain that being busy does not need to include others, that I had plans with myself. People invariably loved the idea. I enjoyed my weekly dates of solitude for a couple of years, and they were wonderful.

Since having children, I rarely get a moment alone. This weighs on me and leaves me feeling depleted over time as I attempt to carve of moments of rejuvenating solitude in a sometimes-chaotic, regimented day.

Last year I started a tradition of spending the daylight hours of my birthday alone. I am thrilled that I started doing this. I find it deeply centering and to be exactly what I need to reconnect with myself. It helps me to reclaim that thing that enables me to be a mother and wife and so many things to so many people.

It’s easy to feel guilty about a day of solitude. I remind myself that guilt is wrapped up in pride. It’s a healthy exercise for me to remember that I’m not essential, and for everyone else to realize that they can get along for a day without me. We all return with greater appreciation for each other and with our reserves re-filled.

I’ve decided to call my birthday tradition the Cancerian Day of Solitude. I spent the Second Annual festivity by:

alone at the beach birthday solitude

having breakfast on an empty beach…

followed by a long swim (the flippers I borrowed made me feel like a fish with frog feet)…

followed by an Indian food lunch with my husband Orchid (he is worth the breach in solitude)…

followed by a lavender-infused massage…

followed by an evening with my family.

It’s just what I needed to well up the waters from which I spring forth.

4 thoughts on “Make Plans With Yourself

  1. Hope you had a wonderful day Kat and hope you’re all having a great summer! I also struggle with finding a balance between needing to be alone and with the family. A friend once told me that, “In my happiest childhood memories, my parents were happy.” It really stuck with me, because it’s so true, and I try to remember that when I take time away to refill my reserves.

    It’s been too long — we really need to skype again soon!!!

    1. What a great insight! We miss you guys. We’ve been trying to think of how to see you, but skyping would be great until then. Love you!

  2. I totally agree! I on the other hand belong to a big family. I can’t live without them but I usually catch myself wanting to run away alone somewhere and just breathe.

    1. It can be difficult to manage but it’s important to set aside time for yourself to whatever extent you are able. I find that even an hour can be rejuvenating and helps me to be more present for my family. Good luck!

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