My husband’s away and it’s time for solitude.
Postworksavvy readers know that my husband does an annual junket to Trinidad and Tobago to celebrate Carnival and to visit family and friends.
I’ve been there, done that.
In over 45 years of marriage, I’ve visited his country many times and don’t feel a need to keep returning. For him, it’s different. It’s an annual reunion and home-coming. He enjoys going alone because he’s not worrying about whether I’m having a good time.
I choose to stay home as I love having a few weeks of solitude. Separate vacations work for us as each person gets to indulge in solo activities. Personal needs are met without compromise.
There is something special about spending time alone.
I have time to explore individual interests. For example, I love going to galleries. My husband ‘tolerates’ such visits if I invite him but he prefers to hear of them secondhand. While he’s away this year I’m planning a visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see some of the Masterpieces from the Guggenheim collection. I’m also planning to check out some of the smaller local galleries to indulge my visual senses in beauty that transcends this late winter time of year.
There’s lots of time to do what I love. I can play the piano for hours without disturbing anyone. I can spend most of a day reading in bed without any guilt pangs. I can go through a week at my own pace — accomplishing many things or just slacking off. I’m not big on watching TV but some Netflicks offerings on the new flatscreen that’s hooked up to the stereo system have tempted me.
The time alone also allows me to put my brain on cruise control. The effect is similar to a silent retreat or an extended period of meditation. I have time to unwind, time to think and time to relax.
Solitude stretched over several days gives a change of perspective. Spending time as a couple means that every choice and every decision is influenced, to some extent, by one another. Time alone reinforces my autonomy and allows me to think differently.
I’m enjoy the independence of living alone after spending most of my adult lifetime in a ‘couple’ relationship. Testing my self-reliance skills builds confidence and resiliency. Being alone frightens many people who worry that the problems of daily living may overwhelm them. I don’t want to fall into that category. I know that I could cope on my own if I had to do so — especially after learning how to operate the snowblower!
Time spent outside of a ‘couple’ relationship also provides an ‘appreciation’ wake-up call . There is truth to the old saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. We miss each other when we’re away from each other. When we are together again our relationship is refreshed and it feels new again.
Although we have a happy marriage, spending personal time is a break for each of us. Each of us has new experiences that rejuvenate.
I’ll end my post with a quote from Kahlil Gibran that speaks about togetherness as well as the benefits of separation and time alone.
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”