Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

September 19, 2007

Alone Time

It's kind of funny how an evening alone, doing laundry, tidying up, and channel surfing used to make me feel like the loneliest, saddest person on the planet. Now it feels like heaven.

No offense to Wine Guy or couplehood in general, but every well-adjusted human being needs quality alone time.

I say "well-adjusted" because back when I was somewhat less than well-adjusted, the thought of any time alone terrified me. I was perfectly content passing all of my free time with roommates, friends and whatever boyfriend I happened to have at the time. As long as I wasn't left alone with me and my thoughts.

But now....well, I am perfectly capable of entertaining myself for an entire evening. Even a weekend or more.

We've all heard the cliche "You have to love yourself before anyone else can really love you." I'll buy that. But to me, loving yourself means more than just having high self-esteem. It also means giving yourself the same quality time you'd give a boyfriend or spouse. Time to do whatever it is that keeps you in touch with who you are. Whether it's an art project, writing in your blog, or just folding your damn laundry.

I think Wine Guy has been mistaking my need for "alone time" as a need for "time away from him time." We've had a few exchanges (yes, sometimes even fights) where he felt rejected or unimportant and I felt resentful for him feeling that way.

I think (hope) we have managed to communicate our way out of this potentially deadly black hole. Not only does he generally understand where I'm coming from now, but I think he's finally starting to get that my alone time gives him some freedom too. And it doesn't offend me if he thinks of it that way.

Tonight, I had a dream date with myself. After work, I met my friend Gouda for a competitive tennis match. We both became pretty flustered when we walked onto the public courts to see four short-clad, hunky firefighters playing a spirited doubles game on the court next to us. Let's just say we both LOVE our fireman fantasies and we couldn't focus on the game much until their walkie talkies went off and they scurried off the court to jump in their nearby truck and race off, sirens blaring.

Then I headed home tired and sweaty to enjoy what used to be my ritual single-girl dinner of a hearty bowl of Progresso Chicken Dumpling Soup. True, not quite as savory as a gourmet meal cooked with love by Wine Guy, but remember, this is my alone time. Unwashed bowl in sink, I then did a couple loads of laundry, watched my Daily Show re-run, pet the cat and finally, wrote this.

Did Wine Guy sit home and sulk? Hell no. He went to his regular Wednesday night Wine Tasting without me (sorry, but I like tennis more than wine). He stayed later than normal to catch up with old friends he hasn't seen in a long time (probably because he's been spending too much time with me).

And you know what came out of this night apart? We chatted on the phone, happily catching each other up on our evenings, then eagerly made plans for tomorrow night - together. The call ended with mutual "I miss you"s and sweet good nights.

See? Alone time feeds the together time too.

Well, good night to you as well. I've got to finish my perfect solo date off with a good book in bed and drifting off to sleep with the bedside lamp on. Damn. I'm a hot date.



Anonymous said...

Beautifully writtn. How wonderful that the two of you are learning to allow each other your own space and time and letting it enrich your relationship!

Michele said...

I've always appreciated my alone time but even more so now that I'm married and have a child, I LOVE to have time alone. I stayed home from work Tuesday because I was sick and I actually loved that my house was so quiet and peaceful. I think it's healthy to have separate time from your partner. Definitly makes you appreciate them more ... plus, you can get some laundry done as well : )

Johanne said...

Nice entry. And so Machiavellian: "Let there be spaces in your togetherness"

But seriously - I've been watching healthy couples, and most of them seem to spend a fair amount of time pursuing their separate interests - I think it helps them stay interesting.

Of course, after months of work-a-day slog where I'm lucky to get an hour of quality time with my husband in the evening, we're just coming back from 12 days of 24-hour-a-day vacation togetherness, and it was FANTASTIC. Fell in love with the man all over again.