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.

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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!!!

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    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!

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  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.

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    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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