Today my husband left for his annual vacation junket to Trinidad — without me. I declined the invitation to travel with him — as I do every year.
Most people gasp when they hear this.
They ask why I don’t go with him. They admonish me for missing the carnival festivities on the island. They are astonished that I won’t take an opportunity to leave the cold and snow of our Canadian winter. Some are still surprised at the idea of separate vacations.
For many years this extended holiday which is usually a full month, happened when I was working 14-16 hour days at the office and travelling every week. People understood that I couldn’t take vacation leave for an extended period during a busy time at work.
We fell into the routine of separate vacations many years ago. Sometimes it was more convenient because of child care, or vacation time frames, or invitations to travel with friends.
But now that we are both retired, everyone thinks I’m just a bit touched to miss an opportunity to spend time in the sun. They wonder why we keep the tradition of separate vacations.
Change of Routine
What they don’t understand is that there are real benefits for both of us from the change of routine. I love the guy and I miss him, But after 46 years of marriage, both of us deserve some time alone.
I don’t particularly like travelling — perhaps because I did enough of it while working. I hate packing and unpacking. I don’t like airports and I don’t like too many disruptions to routines.
My husband likes travel. He is more adventuresome than I. He values connections with his country of birth.
The annual junket during carnival season allows him to enjoy his friends and family in Trinidad. I don’t have to pretend to enjoy the crowds nor the noise nor the mosquitos that are part of carnival in his country.
The truth is that I enjoy being alone for an extended time each year.
I eat when I want to eat. I sleep when I want to sleep. I stay up until the wee hours reading, playing the piano, watching movies and working on various hobbies. I amuse myself and enjoy my postworksavvy lifestyle.
Day 1 of 21 Days alone
This year I decided that I would blog about this mini vacation starting with today — Day 1.
After the usual rush of helping with last-minute packing and driving to the airport, I decided that a yoga class and some relaxation would be a treat. After yoga, I had time for a cup of tea with a couple of yoga buddies with no worries about getting home to make dinner.
Once I reached home I walked around the house rather aimlessly. It felt empty. I realized that I missed my husband even though his plane had hardly left the tarmac.
Our house is big when both of us are here but it feels bigger with just me and two cats. I found myself setting the alarm system as soon darkness fell — not because I’m afraid to be alone, but just because I’m here alone. It’s also very quiet.
A phone call from our son was a welcome diversion as was the need to feed the cats and clean the litter boxes — both tasks that are not usually my job.
It will take at least 24 hours for me to get used to being alone. It will also take some time to fall into the groove of solitude.