― Ralph Waldo Emerson
I spent Thanksgiving alone again and it was fine. The two days and nights that followed were spent entirely with my landlords. Something that hasn't happened before, despite living here for nearly eleven months. I craved solitude and when I got it on Sunday, I felt the anxiety float away. They returned and I laughed, with them.
I've often spoke of the importance of solitude to my friends who are mothers. My friends who are fathers always seem to have that male bonding time during the holidays and never appear as hampered by the responsibility of making everyone else happy, well fed and appreciated during the holidays. I realize this is a generalization, but for me, well from my perspective, it's true.
Solitude is often viewed as a negative, but in small doses, it's a vacation from the act of doing for others. Something most of us do daily, but for a few, the aforementioned mothers especially, it's a myth. A legend they've heard, or a distant memory, since bringing children into this world. We hear the stories, told as jokes, of not even being able to pee or shower, but they aren't jokes. No, they are small cries for help, they've already accepted as being unheard. Shopping, errands, cleaning and the daily commute isn't the solitude they need. A detour, a book, a walk, a glass of wine when the kids are out with their friends, father or simply somewhere where there is no need to worry; that is what I speak of.
My mother used to go for rides. I followed in her footsteps when I was younger. Do not believe for a moment age is an issue. Young people, yes, even your children need their Me Time too, but for those who carry the burden of providing, it's imperative. It isn't so much as a cliched recharging of the batteries, but taking them out and making sure they're all there. There is no time limit or time frame, but especially during this time of year, we all need some time to reflect. We need time to be introspective, appreciative of ourselves, for us, not for what we do for others. We need time to think about the last few days, weeks or months and think past the trees, menorahs and festive foods. A glass of wine, an ice cream Sunday or driving over the speed limit, without a sound coming from those car seats. A book or movie that has been set aside, or a hiking trail. A one man or woman karaoke show while enjoying a sunset. Whatever the chosen endeavor is, do it alone and remember, at the end of the day, despite what you may tell others, or even tell yourself, you are the most important person in your life. Take some time to remind yourself of that. In a season that sees us overcome with emotions, both good and bad, we often lose our sense of self. Recapture it. Own it. Enjoy it.