time to myself: 7/365

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In the interest of the whole truth, I must follow my being rich in family with my equally strong need/desire for time to myself.

I’ve always felt this.

The summer I was a brand-new teen-ager, I set off to Vermont by myself for two months of camp. My last year as a teen-ager, I set off to Quebec City by myself for the summer, and the next summer, off to France. After my first son was born, I spent months and months planning and looking forward to a trip to Paris for after his first birthday. Before I ever even hung a wreath, I used to combat the intensity of family time at Christmas by scheduling a trip to a spa for January first. And my first published story was called “Time for Myself.”

What I especially loved about a spa, when I had kids at home, was that it was a place where people took care of me, and if I went by myself, I didn’t have to compromise what I wanted to do to accommodate when someone else wanted to eat lunch.

I like having a whole day to sculpt as the spirit moves me. It’s nice to be able to do that every once in a while. Thinking of what other people want or need most of the time, as parents and spouses do, it’s easy to forget what you want, what you would do if you had a free day, a free evening. It’s easy to forget who you are.

If I lived by myself and had no family, I imagine I would go in search of Time with Others.

I’d love to know what you think.

~

 365 true things about me

17 thoughts on “time to myself: 7/365

  1. Okay, I assume you really do want to know what I think… 😉

    I have always loved my solitude, which is not to say that I always acknowledged that love as a real need. Now, my time is mine, and it is not an exaggeration to say that I am grateful for it every day. It is only occasionally that I seek time with others and in the interest of the whole truth, I limit that time, always ready to return home. My life has not been one with close ties to family, and I do not have children, yet I spent my middle years in two relationships as well as with friends and with colleagues. It is only in the last five years that I live my time as mine.

    Thoughtful post. Thanks!
    Karen

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    • Oh yes, Karen, I really want to know. I’m fascinated by your words, and it’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one on this side of the spectrum. Loved that last line especially: I live my time as mine. And I’m so happy for your new-found energy this year.

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  2. Thanks for this great post. I come from a family of nine plus extras in a small house (long story) and have always loved my solitude, craved it. I think it’s one of the essential ingredients for sanity, necessary for writing and being a mother, wife, daughter and friend.

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  3. I can relate. I don’t think of it as “me” centered time but it’s definitely where I can regroup and tidy up my edgy thoughts so that I can do and be for others what God has asked of me. Jesus did crowds when he had to. He did his small-group meetings in house church or temple talks. He did close friend teaching and discipling of his inner 12 and further pared down to the main 3. And he did alone time. Just him and the Father. The latter I believed always prepared himself for all the former situations.

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  4. Time Alone… be as necessary as breathing.

    Time with Others… feeds my basic ‘human’ desire to belong.

    In keeping with the above… I be intrigued by the following quote:

    “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
    And if I am only for myself, what am I?
    And if not now… when?
    ………………………………..Yehoshua Bar-Hillel

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  5. It is actually my need for some time to breathe, to do what I want for me with no one bothering me, is one of the biggest reasons my night owl habits continued throughout my life. It’s also been the reason my health isn’t a bit better, too. But constanly having to live our lives for others can be depleting and unfair. But in the same breath, whenever I think of life before modern convenience, I realize how much more we can do that isn’t drudgery, too.

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  6. Somehow growing up I deeply imbibed the belief that I was meant, always, to adapt to others and be a good caretaker. (I have often wondered if this kind of raising is unavoidable for a girl born in the south.) For a long time I didn’t understand how much I needed time to myself–in fact, when I was a young adult, I feared being alone. What a shock it was to discover how much I liked it when I got married and then arranged to give my husband alone-time b/c I’d realized how much HE needed it. We were both relieved to discover the need was mutual. Nowadays I have no family but my husband. Yes, you do have to build some kind of community and develop friendships when you’re cut off from the people you’ve always known. So I do think you would find yourself seeking out company, now and again, if it wasn’t ready-made. But you’d still need a lot of alone-time. I need more all the time.

    Now the question I had, reading this post, is why, when you have always been so good at gifting yourself alone-time and personal space whenever and wherever you can find it, do you feel you know yourself so little that you’ve prescribed this project as a curative? I learn a lot about myself when I’m alone, and that’s partly why I value the time so much. Here’s another: Why, when you’ve alway understood that you must have alone time, do you BELIEVE that you don’t know yourself? Or maybe I’m reading too much into your confession that you feel far away from yourself. Maybe you mean more that you tend to focus your prodigious brain outward rather than inward–well, and that when you do go inward, it’s mainly to create stories that are not about you, or at least not in an immediately obvious way and not in a way that interests you–and NOT that you don’t have a clue who you are. In any case, I’m very glad for this curative. It’s inspiring and a pure delight to read.

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    • I actually don’t learn very much about myself when I’m alone except for the kinds of things I like to do when I’m alone–like for example staying in my pjs. I got used to being private, and I got comfortable with it. I was only turning the brain inward through the slant of fiction–and revising my novel now I’m noticing a lot of what I’m writing here there. In any event, whatever the reason, there’s no question that I was losing my voice in the sense that I was becoming less able to talk about myself when I did want to and unable to say anything about myself that wasn’t a fact or a figure. It’s not so much that I don’t have a clue; it’s more that it’s inaccessible. And now I’m trying to access it, to find the words. Thanks for asking.

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