Today marks day one of my *first ever* writing retreat. That’s three days alone, by myself, with NO ONE, in the off-grid jungle development Hunter manages. Did I mention that I am alone, by myself, with NO ONE!!!? I can’t even begin to tell you how good this feels. Can’t. Even.
Before you begin that all-popular thought process of, “Oh yeah, lucky her. SHE gets jungle retreat but not poor little ol’ me,” allow me to clarify something:
I am super introverted. I LOVE to be alone. In my 19 years of motherhood (starting at age 17), I have never, ever, not once allowed myself the “luxury” of time away alone, by myself, with NO ONE.
Well, why does any of us deprive ourselves of the things we love? Because we can’t afford them? (This place and others have been available to me for free since we moved here.) Our babies need us? (That USED to be true for me.) We feel undeserving of them? We feel guilty when we go away? We think we owe it to those we love to slave away day after noise-filled day?
Amazing, isn’t it? All the goodness we easily afford others but not ourselves?
Seems like the perfect time for:
Q: What would you give yourself more of if you felt totally worthy and deserving of it? What gifts do you hold back from yourself and why?
This morning, while waking up ALONE…
Making breakfast ALONE…
And breathing in the soul-stirring stillness, ALONE…
…it occurred to me:
I would never in a million years question my super-extroverted husband’s need for people, parties and social interaction. My need for solitude is no less legitimate or important.
Self-love has so many layers, doesn’t it? REALLY glad to have peeled away this one.
Back to the book! (which I think you’re gonna love). I sure am having fun writing it!
All kinds of peaceful and filled with gratitude (for my man, especially — what a GLORIOUS surprise),
Enjoy your writing retreat Beth – you certainly deserve it! (Tell Hunter I’d like a single story Pepen please 🙂
I have been married for 30 years and a parent for 27 years. I have never, in all of those years, gone on an overnight trip alone. I turned 50 in January and I was contemplating how I could mark that passage in a BIG way…something out of my comfort zone, hugely memorable, etc. I considered shaving my head or running a 5K but my deepest desire was to take a trip ALL ALONE. A couple of nights would be wonderful. A week would be the equivalent (for me) of a once in a lifetime, round-the-world adventure!! I have not voiced this desire to my family because it feels “selfish” on a tight budget and no one will REALLY understand what a HUGE deal this would be to me. Maybe when I turn 60 ……..
Don’t wait until you’re 60!!! Do it now, you never know what tomorrow will bring and your family will understand they love you!!!
I take a weekend away every year. It’s my sanity. It’s not free, but it’s reasonable. We all deserve it! 🙂
Your writer’s retreat looks and sounds heavenly. Hooray that you are doing this! May it be the first of many.
Your post really got me thinking. At first, I was sure that what I would give myself, was more time away from home and child. But as I reflected on the times I have been away (which is at least a few days in each of my child’s 9 years), I realized that quite often, the time away doesn’t work. It doesn’t always give me rest or clarity or nurture, and I can return feeling even more cramped or lonely or hungry for a different existence.
I’m left with a couple of thoughts:
(1) I do want and need and deserve time away from my child, but what I really want is for someone else to look after me, i.e., tell me to go, give me the money to stay somewhere nice, sort out the childcare, keep me company and coddle me while I’m away. Sorting it all out myself, and often going alone, is a big drain — sometimes more of a drain than whatever I gain from a change of scene and some solitude;
(2) It feels like I have to justify my absence to my daughter, her dad, her godmother, and everyone else (sadly, especially other mothers). Frankly, I am tired of fighting this fight;
(3) Lack of money makes it all much harder. People (and the voices in my own head) think people in my financial situation shouldn’t be spending money on holidays. I can’t afford much so my trips away involve compromises on location, mode of transportation, accommodation, food, company or lack thereof, or activities on offer.
(4) How much do our babies (of whatever age) really need us? My daughter seems to need me more at 9 than she did at 2.
I sound like a whiner. Yet I know I’m not the only mother who doesn’t give herself what would nourish her because of social taboos and other people’s attitudes and expectations.
Here’s what I want: a whole 7-day week away in nature in a comfy cottage with a few other mothers (and no children or men). Hiking, chatting in the kitchen, hours of solitude, great meals (in which two or even more food items actually touch each other and might even have a non-tomato sauce). I have tried, and I can’t get other mothers to come with me. How sad is that?
I would totally go! But how to justify it due to all of the exact same reasons you listed above is another story. That sounds like my ideal vacation too. We hardly even take a vacation as a family, so for me to say “Hey, I’m going off for a week by myself and you and the boys can stay here” seems supremely selfish. I’m an introvert too and I just crave peace and quiet. I’ve started to try to take 1 day off a month to just come home and clean by myself. It doesn’t always happen, and the day goes by so fast when it does.
I just read Gift from the Sea and the author also said how important it is for women to get away by themselves. I would recommend that book to any woman and/or mother, I don’t think I’ve ever highlighted something on every single page before. Anne Morrow Lindbergh is the author.
This is a great question. A question I have been asking myself lately. In the long scheme of things, I am only in the beginning of my years of giving myself to others 99.9% of the time, but I am luckily already learning the importance of doing things for myself, making myself a priority. It does not and most likely wont happen very often for quiet a few years, but nevertheless I deserve me time. Time to sew and create, time to read in the sun, time to take walks in nature. Time to explore.
Oh, how timely. I was just thinking how much I would love this exact same thing…a few days ALONE. My 5 month old and 2 year old have different plans for me right now, however. But I promise, someday I will!
Muy hermoso lugar. pero en mi opinion un video con resolucion de al menos 360 seria mucho mejor. Espero que disfrutes tu estancia y que desde luego se refleje en tu libro.
I would take more time to exercise and train for triathlons which I love and get monthly massages. I would also travel more often. The reason I don’t? The big G, guilt!! I so often already feel like I am failing my kids, how could I possibly take more time away from them. How could I spend time and money on myself when my husband monitors all my expenses even though I am the primary breadwinner. Don’t get me started. I think it all stems from some deep-seated notion that I don’t actually deserve to do nice things for myself. Blah
I also need time alone. I also had not given myself that (ever!) until this year. I had my daughter when I was 20 — moved in with her father from my father’s house, and was a single parent by 21. Since then I have re-married, become a step-mother (to two young girls who are now grown), had two sons who I have been “unschooling” at home for the last 7 years. I had given my life over to my children and my family and completely denied any desires I had for my own fulfillment –all while telling myself this is all what I wanted. This year I took my first camping trip alone. It cost $20 for two nights. It was beautiful and scary and perfect, and it began an opening up that is still happening daily. I now give myself permission to take time for me as often as I can. I have been taking more weekends for myself — my children’s father stepping in to care for them while I am gone. I am hearing parts of me that have been silenced for a long time. Longings for a different type of work and fulfillment away from my children. I also feel a desire to live somewhere that has more of an outdoor culture. I don’t know exactly where this is all going (yet), but I am glad to be and feel connected to myself again. I love reading your blog. There is always something that moves me or helps to wake me up here. Thanks for being real and sharing yourself.
I am mother to two girls under five so I think my time of giving without pause is not over yet. Yet I find that the little things can make a bigger difference than the large. Going to do farm chores by myself on a beautiful day can do my soul just as much good as a huge overnight or vacation away. And it is a lot easier to pull off alone time for an hour or two every few days than to get totally away for days especially with young ones. I think that it is what I would do more than a huge get away….I would give myself more small chunks of time everyday to ride my horses or do chores, or take a small hike, or just sit outside with a cup of something and breathe, or meditate. All those also alone time things that so often get pushed aside in the chaos of the day. I would give myself permission to take a small chunk of alone time everyday. The big stuff is fun and special, but often takes resources financial and otherwise that we don’t have right now. But a little time everyday…it should be doable although it seems it never is!
I am starting to tackle this question, finally, by sitting down and doing creative writing. For so long, it felt like it was not important, or there were other priorities, or it was selfish, or any number of other reasons.
The more I go on, and the more I read online, the more I acknowledge that I am more introverted than I thought. Writing is not just a way to flex creative muscles, it is a way to be on my own, process things through. It’s a way to hunt for meaning, and to chase after words, which I love doing.
I would also love to take time to be fully on my own – that’s a gift I haven’t yet given myself as a mum (though it was easier to get that time when I was doing office work).
Deep down, when we do the thing that we have been hiding from (like daring to spend time alone), something in us recognises how much we need it. Now I’ve started writing, I know I am meant to be doing it. And that helps me keep going.
Your every word rings true. It’s funny how some people regard your love for being alone as some weird, hermit syndrome that needs some psychiatric looking-into. I love being alone with my thoughts or with a good book, I don’t know why … I just do rather than trying to make some inane conversation with a total stranger in some cocktail party. It’s good to know I’m not alone.
i spent my 20’s alone…i spent my 30’s being a step mom and mom to two wonderfully hilarious sons….and a wife to an amazing man. i discovered that oftentimes you need a “breather”, even if its from yourself. I take the odd commissioned landscape painting jobs…but only those out of town. 2 birds….1 stone…and the stone is paid for!!! SWEET!
Fresh perspective can’t be forced…but you can help it along with some alone time…
I am 54 with 6 children ranging from 18 to 36. I also have 7 grandchildren who all live 1200 miles away. My husband and I still have our 18 and 19 year old son at home. I began having children at 19 and it feels I will have kids in my home forever!! I have no clue as to what that experience is like. Your article caused me to reflect on the many times my husband and I have made excuses and reasoned away our desperate need for (self and marital nurturing.) Always waiting for perfect timing of getting away from his overbearing work load, never having enough money, fearful of trusting teenagers alone, and feeling guilty for not taking them! Then the dog boarding fees!” THE retreat always remains a dream for following year only to bring another year older, I knew this would happen again with utter frustration! Oh, we talked today about saving so I can attend his PHD trip to Germany and then see Paris! How funny we cant make it to the next city! So, I started staying all night with my BF once a month as we craft, laugh and break the mold of mundainess… It is a start for me but I say with conviction “waiting for the perfect circumstances will never come! We must stop the excuses & live life NOW while we still have it. Next year could be to late! EXCUSES ARE OVER!