Truly Free Time Not Shared

It rarely happens. That coveted few minutes when you have the house to yourself and even the dog is sleeping. It feels like bliss and at the same slightly intimidating. I am not sure where to begin. There are a lot of choices in that first couple minutes when you find yourself in this situation. Usually impromptu and unplanned you find yourself completely without abandon of any schedule and you have true free time. I feel a rush pump through me as I switch gears and work out how to use this time. How much time do I have? It feels part race and competition to not let this time slip by.


I don’t lack for options in those moments but what strikes me odd is what comes up first for what I should do. Sometimes a lot of things come up for me and the challenge of squeezing them all in that window of time is absurdly comical. Other times I want to truly take guilt free pleasure of reading a book or even taking a nap. As much as I hate to admit it the choice I usually land on is something that needs to be done rather than something of my own pleasure. Yet it feels oddly pleasurable to be able to choose it. Somehow it feels distinctly different than just being another chore on my list that I’m finally spending some time on even though that is exactly what it is.


While glad to see them safe and home there is a twinge of longing for just a little more time I don’t have to share, even if I’m scrubbing or cleaning something when they arrive. That luxury of caring for only yourself a few moments longer. Letting my mind get lost in reconnecting as me and not who I am to others. It is not that I don’t want to be connected because I do treasure it but there are times it feels incredible to just be me, enjoying a few hours on my own. Time not shared caring or worrying about others. Time where I decompress and let loose the loving weight of guilt, worry, responsibility, wonder, tears and fear we take on as wives and mothers.


Those feelings never leave you by the way, even in those rare moments when we have some time to ourselves. They don’t completely vanish when we find ourselves in that space. We do still worry about them but it just feels a little less heavy for a little while. We realize our own skin for a moment and remember that person we are is all. We lavish in the welcoming of a deep breath to recall what it felt like to be just us. I find incredible energy in that. It is renewing and strengthening. That ability to step out of the roles and just be this person I sometimes forget that I am.


There was a time in my life when those moments of time would need to be filled with calling up my girlfriends to do something. I had to replace that empty space with other people and activities of catching up and connecting with others. While I do need to do more of spending time with friends, I learned to appreciate this time to be by myself. Even if I choose to clean something around the house with my music blaring or flip the TV to a show or movie I want to watch. I may even make something to eat that only I like. It becomes a time when I didn’t want to share with anyone because I could cater it completely to my own needs and interests.


It doesn’t always feel good to be by ourselves. We can’t stand the quiet or are uncomfortable with the freedom of the situation. I always feel a little off balance like something is drastically out of norm and it takes a moment to get my sea legs used to new land. It is also hard not to wonder if they are on their way home yet if I’m lonely or the quiet is getting to me. However, being able to soak in that time and truly let it sink in those uncomfortable places of silence and aloneness is rejuvenating to our soul. It is the real self-care most of us don’t get under the umbrella of manicures and massages.


Choosing to spend time alone is one of the healthiest things we can give ourselves. It helps to bring about mindfulness that can help us relieve stress and define our path with increased clarity. It restores our energy with a strengthened purpose and appreciation in our heart too. Having that time to devote to focusing on ourselves in this altruistic way gives us a time to assess, evaluate and define who we are emerging to be. It can be a beautiful way to expand on our dreams. I honestly laugh at myself about it because this usually comes to me when I am casually working on something around the house in those moments. I think the clarity of the mind for me happens when because I don’t feel rushed to get it done like I so often do. I can enjoy the process of cleaning as a form of repetitive movement that gives me space to also think and dream.


The ability to refresh our soul with a little time talking to ourselves, or letting our mind ramble in our own thoughts and ideas is renewing. Remembering we are that girl, woman, person gives us that renewable energy to carry forward in the roles we put on top of her. Self-care is not just about the pampering but rather it is the soul work of renewal within us.


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