There are a few secrets to long term relationships that are talked about but not usually as directly as I will expose. Obviously you should work on being open, direct, and communicative. Another one that you hear a lot about is doing stuff on your own. Well that sounds good but you know there is work, bills, life, family, projects, and friends. You are doing most of those on your own throughout the day anyway, now you are supposed to find time to go on a vacation by yourself too?
And isn’t the whole point to go away with someone you love… you know like your partner? The answer is yes and no. The truth is we do have a lot of alone time but it isn’t quality time where you get to sit and breathe and just be by yourself in the most essential of ways. You are not with your partner or family or friends but you are still involved in other activities and rarely are you driving the direction of those activities. When you involve another person it is always going to be a compromise. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does mean that the time you might take by yourself isn’t 100% yours.
But wait…you love your partner and you want to go away and enjoy your time “alone” with them. Yes, that is important too… even if it is a date night once a week where you and your partner just sit on the couch and cuddle and watch a movie. Couples time is extremely important to the health of the relationship and plenty of people do not make time for it (but that is for another post). Still, we get back to the fundamental of needing time for you to just be you.
I’m practical and work in the real world so I do not make the assumption that everyone that is reading this has the time or money to just go on a week’s vacation to some island somewhere. This alone time I speak of can be where your partner and/or kid leaves the house for a full day and you feel what silence is again. Or maybe you have the opportunity to go stay at a friend’s and housesit for them while they are gone. Perhaps you do have the funds and you can go away to a hotel, bed and breakfast, or some island for a week. The point isn’t about the money or the location it is about truly being alone.
You are in a quiet cottage now somewhere in your head or in reality and at first it is hard …really hard. You think about work, family, all the stuff you are not getting done. This is normal, I promise! You are fighting the mind’s desire for routine this is supposed to happen, you are breaking the rules so you can recenter it is supposed to be tough in a wonderful-sort-of-way. Finally, it sinks in that you have some time for yourself. Maybe you take a long shower, have some tea, exercise, meditation cd, or read a book … or maybe your you-time is playing your favorite video game, watching a movie that only you seem to like, take a nap for no reason other than you want to, make your favorite meal, or better yet it is about you sitting out on a the porch in the sun just thinking.
It is tempting to call friends or do something that involves others but this is you-time and that means that you have to focus on what it takes to replenish who you are so that you can be you again. Not the you with all the demands but the you that is creative, raw, and true… you remember right? So sink into this time and give yourself the best of you and think and breathe and feel without constraints. I assure you … if you do this on purpose multiple times a year you will find you don’t feel so grouchy with the rest of the world.
Call it therapy-mumbo-jumbo if you want the the proof is out there. It takes effort to make time for yourself but once you do and see the results you will wonder how you ever went along without it. Plus you get the added bonus of going away to come back. You walk back into your life with renewed vigor and you get to talk about what you thought about, what you felt, and reconnect with those that love you most. Because when you take time away for you … you find you again … and that is the most important point of it all!