Single Mom Slice of Life:
Spending Some Quality Alone Time

For my 40th birthday this year, I had planned a trip with two friends to Sedona. In the end, being moms themselves, they were unable to make it. I still went, and discovered quite a bit about myself. Including the fact that life doesn’t end if I decide to pamper myself.

Not just a little. I’m talking waking up, feeding the dogs, and then going right back to sleep. I’m talking a shower that included shaving my legs AND washing my hair one after the other instead of at the same time. I’m talking driving 5 miles below the speed limit and listening to an “easy listening” station. Side note – I know a disturbing number of Carpenter songs.

In any case, I learned other interesting things in those 3 days. For starters – when your only intention for 72 hours is to do absolutely nothing – the exact opposite happens. I was in my room for 10 minutes before I was itching to go out and explore – to drive with the windows down and sing with the Bee Gees! And I did. I stopped at the local grocer and bought wine and snacks, I had my psychic reading done, I antique shopped and I bought the most amazing BBQ and peach cobbler I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Saturday was no different really. I was anxious to start my day, to experience my life. MINE. Not as a mom, office manager, writer, neighbor, friend, family member or any other hat I wear on a daily basis. I wanted to see what I could see and figure out after 40 years how to like myself.

For the first time ever (sadly, literally the first time ever) I ate in a café by myself. Yeah, I could have ordered it to be delivered to my room – but then I would have robbed myself of sitting outside on a patio overlooking Bell Rock and just – relaxing. Yes, I got some writing done – and I learned that the women sitting behind me were all drinking beer at 7 a.m. – but I did it with the most amazing sense of peace I’ve ever felt. For the first time ever (again – literally the first time ever) I felt a true sense of bliss.

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The exhaustion that had been pulling at me for countless months had disappeared. Gone was the need to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. Though it would have been completely acceptable considering the last couple of months, instead, the exhaustion was replaced by an energy I still can’t explain. I wasn’t worried if the boys missed me, so I went to farmer’s markets. I didn’t care if they ran out of stamps at the office, so I toured art galleries and musical theaters. I didn’t die because I ate a meal by myself in a public place, and I spent money without worrying about if it was a selfish purchase or not.

I – and even I still have a hard time believing this – I enjoyed myself. I could feel myself smiling for no reason at all. When I slept it was deep and without waking up 5 times throughout the night. When I drove, it was slowly and without knowing where I was going until I got there (on purpose as opposed to being lost). I didn’t need TV or radio to distract me from my thoughts.

When I came home, I didn’t want to stay home. I dropped off my bag and headed back out – a far cry from my usual routine of coming home and hiding in my room. Two weeks later, that peace has stayed with me. I think in the end, what I needed was a complete and total reset in my life. No phone, no obligations, no schedule, no purpose. Just a chance to remember that there is more to life than running, lecturing, working. There’s enjoying, appreciating, and just being me.

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What about you? What do you do to reset yourself? Do you have a favorite place to do so, or can you find your reset wherever you are? When was the last time you took time to celebrate just being you?