I am a bit of a loner. I always have been. Sure, I have friends, but I find a great deal comfort in solitude. Perhaps it stems from my personal struggles with rejection and love of the quiet. When there is so much “noise” in your childhood, you sometimes come to fancy the quiet.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a social butterfly, my husband is much more outgoing than I am. He hangs out with his friends regularly, will crack a joke to a group of people worrying little about whether it will garner laughter, and he isn’t afraid to spend time alone. And by alone I don’t mean just sitting in the other room playing Call of Duty while I’m working. I mean going to the movies or even out to lunch.
See, I like being alone, but not in public places, and not engaging in activities that are typically associated with two or more persons. Instead of going out alone, I’d rather wait for him for him to get home from work, or be done with school, or to not be too tired. Not only is he my husband and my rock, but it seems at times I have made him my crutch.
“Get out of the house,” my husband will say. “Go have fun!” While a date night is ideal, it isn’t always feasible, and he doesn’t want me bound to the walls of our home because we couldn’t make child care arrangements. And I get it, he knows that having “alone time,” whether truly alone or with my best friend or a group of girlfriends, is good for me. But the thing is, with the exception of running errands, I rarely get out of the house unless it is with him and/or with our children. If he can’t go, I will wait. I want to go to dinner with him. I want to see the new movie with him. I want to do just about everything with him. I’m crazy about him, so it only seems right that I don’t want to have a bunch of fun without him. But why shouldn’t I? Getting a pedicure or my hair done doesn’t have to be the only thing I do solo. I can do the fun, new adventurous (although nothing too extreme) stuff as well.
It’s crazy because as much as I like being alone, it’s not like I can’t leave my home without someone by my side. My boldness and ability to be brave is somewhat limited by my comfort zone. I will gladly waltz into the nail salon for a mani and a pedi but go into a restaurant and say, “table for one?”
Recently, my husband and I traveled out of town. Our trip required us to be away from each other during certain points. On the first day of our trip I stayed in the comforts of our hotel room, working and FaceTiming with my mom and my babies, and waiting for him to get back. However, on the second day, I decided I would venture out and take advantage of the opportunity before me. I decided I would be brave.
And I did. I walked outside of the hotel and explored the city. I stood and snapped pictures, not caring what people said or thought, or if I looked like a tourist. I went to a food place bustling with people (and couples), and sat at the counter alone. I resisted the urge to stare at my cellphone (OK, maybe I did a little so I would look busy), I ordered my food, and sat, and ate solo. And when an adorable couple sat at the counter beside me, I resisted the urge to immediately ask for a to-go box.
While seated, I texted my husband that I was eating alone. He was proud of me, and, deep down inside, I was proud of myself. I saw this as a step toward becoming more comfortable in my skin.
I want to have more moments in which I sit in front of my husband and tell him something I savored or experienced because I listened to his advice and decided to start living a little, realizing that memories made on my own can still be magical. I want him to know that he doesn’t have to devote his free time to ensuring that I get out of the house and venture beyond the shore. I want to be just as excited about making some of my own memories without him as I am about making them with him. And I want to be confident in doing such.
Having fun and making the most of all of life’s moments — even those moments of solitude — makes me better. Not just for me or for my babies, but for him too. Moments of quiet in which I dream, think, reflect and ponder. Moments in which I experience the gifts life gives us when we are open to receive them. Moments in which I recharge and come back feeling replenished, excited, energized and inspired.
Solitude has the potential to be a beautiful thing, and perhaps will make our moments shared even sweeter. Here’s to more dates in 2014, dates with my husband and dates with myself.
Photo Source: My Instagram