But then I get this ache. This ache in myself of which part of me feels ashamed. I lovelovelove my family, but after a few days, a piece of me starts to need solitude. This is who I am.
So I bid farewell to my favorite people in the world and said I had to leave for no other reason than to relax, alone. They love and know me well enough to understand and let me go.
I drove home and entered my beautifully quiet house. I threw my bags on the ground and laced up my running shoes and clocked 4 easy, sunny, relaxing miles. I didn't have to explain to anyone how I needed these miles - I just did them. I planned 3 ambitious (but not too ambitious) and healthy (but not too healthy) meals for myself. I headed to my favorite food stores where I took an obscene amount of time to browse the produce aisles and comment to complete strangers on the beauty of the apples. They agreed.
I chatted with the man at the fish counter and told him I needed tilapia for one. He picked out the best filet for me. I know the folks at the bakery. They laughed when I told them how much I enjoyed the last cupcake I bought there and offered me free samples of Irish Soda bread drowned in butter while we decided what cupcake I needed tonight. Double chocolate for the win. I lingered, picked out a nice bottle of wine, and headed home alone. I showered, threw on my rattiest and comfiest pajamas, and turned on HGTV.
When alone, I do these things without thinking. They bring me joy, despite their ridiculousness. When I'm around other people I worry about what they would think that I wear my PJ's and pour myself a glass of wine at 5 in the afternoon. Alone, I do it and I am happy.
After an hour on the couch I rise to start the slow and therapeutic process of cooking myself dinner. There will be too much food and most people would probably just get take out, but I love this process. Chopping and whisking. Transforming separate ingredients into something wonderful. I have a chocolate cupcake waiting for me and I don't have to share it. This is the perfect evening. I need this.
A Serious Interjection: there is nothing wrong or shameful about needing moments alone. They refuel me, refresh me, and most importantly, make me happy. As I write this post I am still reveling in my alone-ness. And, when I turn on the TV to watch the Pioneer Woman at 10 on a Saturday morning while baking unnecessary treats and drinking too much black coffee I will not feel ashamed or guilty - I will simply feel happy.
Previous serious interjections: