~”My husband didn’t always get this concept of alone time. Like my family, he didn’t understand my need to disconnect.”
Imagine living in a large family home with your parents, five brothers and sisters, grandparents and a seemingly constant stream of company. Whether it’s friends hanging out, family dropping by or just the immediate family, the house is always bustling and full of chatter. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well for the most part it was. This was the environment that I grew up in and aside from a little sibling rivalry and periodic arguments, it was all good. But for the fifth kid that seemed to get lost in the shuffle, sometimes it could be a bit much. It was at these times that I’d retreat to my room, close the door and lock out the world.
My family never really understood why I opted to spend time alone and sometimes preferred my dolls or books over play time with family and friends. Unfortunately, as a child I didn’t have the vocabulary to adequately explain my reasons to them. By the time I could make everyone understand my desire for alone time, they’d just accepted that I was the odd ball of the family and an explanation wasn’t necessary.
As an adult, I absolutely love spending quality time with my husband and son. Family gatherings are a delight and time with my friends is a must. But having time to myself is still a requirement. Any woman can tell you that raising children, having a successful marriage, maintaining a home, and a job can wear you out. It takes a toll on the mind and body, but having a temporary escape can replenish all that life has stolen. When I’m alone, I have a heightened sense of peace, a clarity that isn’t always present when I’m with others. I have a tendency to more thoroughly weigh out the options of whatever situation is going on in my life and make better decisions. I feel that I breathe a little more deeply and rest a little more soundly after I’ve had time to myself. I can’t begin to tell you how positively alone time effects my writing. I’m so much more creative, my imagination seems to kick into turbo speed. And as crazy as it sounds, I feel like the relationship with my family improves after I’ve taken a little time for myself. I appreciate them more and think that it makes them appreciate me a little more as well.
My husband didn’t always get this concept of alone time. Like my family, he didn’t understand my need to disconnect. When I’d retreat into myself and not be as vocal or have a couple of crappy days, he’d take it personal. He assumed that I was ticked with him about something or that I was being difficult. Getting him to understand that this is how I’d been my whole life took some serious explaining. After a couple years (yes years), he finally got it and began to gift me moments of alone time by taking our son on day trips. Their mutual love for motorcycles has even sent them on a few guy’s only weekend trips filled with motorcycle racing and bad food. Turns out that the trips have been as much a gift for him and our son as they’ve been for me. Their bond has strengthened in a way that it may not have had it not been for the extra time together. With nearly twenty years of marriage under our belts, my husband has also gained an appreciation for his own alone time. No, these moments of separation don’t always last all day, they rarely exceed eight hours, and don’t happen on a weekly basis. However, the time we do spend apart ultimately makes us better together.
Many psychologists note multiple reasons why spending time alone is good for both your mental and physical health. Among those reasons are improved concentration, increased productivity, decreased stress level, and improved mood. So while others may see me as odd or think that I’m a little weird, I’m simply maintaining my sanity and cultivating a happy, healthy home for my family.
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