30 Jan 2019

Better Not Younger: Home Alone Time

Better Not Younger : Home Alone


What’s wrong with being “home alone” or having “solo” time?

For me absolutely nothing. I crave it.


This does not mean I don’t love my family and friends; I do truly madly and deeply. It is more a sign I have come of age and grown up enough to recognise the value and benefits of time alone. Whether it is quiet time chilling out and catching up on Netflix or spending hours writing, reading and practising yoga, being alone and going “solo” is therapeutic.


Are you thinking what does she know?

She’s married, has children and busy working life. There wouldn’t be the time in her day to be, “solo” and it is very different if you live alone and have yourself for company 24/7.


Yes, it is true what do I know about “home alone”?

I have been married forever and have grown up children I see very regularly. It has made it difficult for me to go “solo”, to accept my own company and take on adventures. Going “solo” was out of my comfort zone and as a child “home alone” for much of my childhood, I went the opposite way. Filling my days and nights and not being alone was how I survived most of my adolescence and later years.


The last few years I have changed and settled into companionable silence with myself. Being alone, spending time with oneself requires a level of self-confidence. Playing with others is so much easier than hanging out with our own thoughts. How much simpler it is to eat in a restaurant with friends or go to the movies with a partner? And what about travelling solo?


Travelling alone can be tough.

Confidence needs to be 100% intact as the experience can be nerve-wracking, fraught with challenges and oftentimes daunting. The flip side, the feeling of accomplishment and the mental pat on the back, makes the struggle for independence so rewarding. Leaving the comfort zone behind can be one of the most exhilarating experiences, however great or small.


Are you still thinking, but she has a choice?

She doesn’t have to be alone – she can duck in and out of a “solo” life when it suits her.

Yes, I accept this and know it is not the same to be alone 100% of the time. Perhaps for women who are single, it is the opposite? They become comfortable “solo” and struggle to socialise in the same way as those of us who are surrounded by people. Either way being comfortable in our own skins, with our thoughts and spending time alone requires mental fortitude and practice.



This is where my better, not younger comes into play.


Rejoice in “solo” time and regard it as a privilege, not a failure. There is no shame in being alone; whether by choice or circumstance, we must embrace it.  Practice makes perfect and I believe we have to work at making our alone time positive. We must fight against FOMO, for what are we really missing out on? Can’t we create an experience to be equally interesting and rewarding for us? Why must we wait for an invitation to see and do what we want?


Being still and settled with our thoughts takes the pain out of alone time. Can you be still, really still? Relaxation and the ability to wind down, whether through meditation or exercise, quieten the mind and allows for peaceful composure. Tranquillity is restorative and a powerful antidote.


Once we learn to be “quiet” we also experience contentment. Contentment is everything. The desire for what we don’t have is such a waste of time and harbour for negative energy. It is impossible to spend time alone if we covet all that is around us. Appreciating what we have and who we are and celebrating this makes “solo” a prize, not a penance.


Does your kind heart extend to you? How easy it is to shower others with our time and generosity and forget us. A little reclusive behaviour can be the best time to work on us.


The big one, self-confidence, is the holy grail of “solo”. When my morale, self-assurance and composure are at their best, being alone is easy. My inclination is to “go for it”, whatever that might mean and set an agenda that is dependent on nobody but me. This is not selfish; it is courageous and adventurous.




Going “solo” – let’s work on it alone, but together. xv




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22 Comments

anitapelayorivera

Oh Vicki, I so agree with you; I’ve been home since yesterday due to school closures and low temperatures. I LOVE BEING by myself! My husband is home too, but on the other end of our long house! We need to listen to ourselves more than we do all the noise around us, especially when we are “growing up!”

Be well my friend and I LOVE your parka!

Reply
Vicki

Yes, we can also experience and love “alone” when we are with others… that’s another kind of “solo” and wonderful skill. Stay warm, Anita and hopefully temperatures rise and school is open again.

Reply
Denice

This post spoke to me because age has demanded solo time to be happy. I, too, am married and have grown children and grandchildren. Having time away from them strengthens perspective and wisdom.

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Vicki

It takes a while to understand what “solo” means and how to best apply it… don’t you think Denice? Once you do, I so appreciate it and lament my silliness in earlier years when I would try and defy any kind of alone time.

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1010ParkPlace

“Self confidence is the holy grail of solo… ” I hadn’t thought about it that way, Vicki, but I believe you’re right. My husband died unexpectedly on Christmas Day, eight years ago. Grieving his loss was the toughest thing I’ve done, but three years ago I moved back to the city and began anew. I go to dinner, to the movies and to concerts by myself. I even went to Lucca, Italy, alone to see the Rolling Stones. I hope to come your direction in the next year or so. Would love to meet you! Many advice blogs tell women to go to a restaurant with a book so they feel less awkward. I say no to that! You miss all that’s going on around you! Why not stay home if you’re going to eat with your nose buried in a book? People watching is one of my favorite pastimes and I always make friends with the waiters. They give me free champagne and sampler plates of dessert. Great topic! xoxox, Brenda

Reply
Vicki

Let me know where and when Brenda… I’m so looking forward to meeting.
Engagement with ourselves and with our surroundings is everything… I think the book or the phone are props when we don’t quite have our confident face on. Something to work on and so much better to be in the moment :)
London is waiting for you, Brenda :)

Reply
Beth Bates

Your post spoke to me today !! I am now widowed ..alone and valuing ( trying to grow) in a different aloneness … it is tough but I believe my years of learning to be alone amidst a large family has helped ease the transition.
I am trying to recapture ‘self confidence ‘ in this new alone time and reinvent. Hard but oh ….so importantThank goodness we that value, need to nourish alone time within can notice the gifts in it. .. loneliness is a different thing.
Self confidence is my word for the year and thank you for your post today!!

Reply
Vicki

I am so sorry Beth for the loss of your husband. I am sure the idea of re-invention and the changes facing your life are difficult to navigate right now… I don’t know from experience but I am thinking of you.
You sound very wise when it comes to understanding the value and appreciation that ‘alone” time can bring. Self-confidence is yours because your attitude is so open and wise.

Reply
LindaH

This must be an age thing because in my younger days I loved being with people, social events, tele was always on. I rarely spent time alone or in quiet. However, since becoming a “woman of a certain age” I love quiet. LOL maybe it’s an evolution I love being alone. I enjoy shopping alone, eating alone, long walks by myself etc. I still have a husband and when he’s gone I feel like a young woman alone in her own place. But, I also look forward to his return :) I don’t know how I would do being alone 24/7.

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Denise

I love this post! I love and crave alone time. I also have grown children and grandchildren and love when they visit, but can’t wait for them to leave. :) I travel alone to Dallas quite often to see my son and grandchildren, and love the time traveling by myself in the car. I think I would love to travel alone to a place I’ve never been. I retire in May and this may be my year to do that! Thank you for your blog. Very many times your post hits very close to home with me. I’m another sixty year old with long gray hair. ::)

Reply
Mary Ann Pettorini

I divorced my husband 10 years ago, ending a 27-year marriage and raised our 2 children alone. It was a scary and incredibly sad time of my life. (I married young, right after university, and had never been alone before, let alone a single parent). With the gift of time and experience, I now appreciate that it was a courageous and loving time as well. My now grown children and I are very close, I started a business, my circle of friends has become wider and more diverse. But perhaps most importantly, I learned the value of peaceful alone time, and of finding, listening to and respecting my own voice. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other as we move through these exciting and empowering chapters.

Reply
Michelle à Détroit

Alone time is a restorative necessity for me. I revel in it. I have never understood people who cannot tolerate being alone. Frankly, it makes me question their sense of identity, independence and self worth.

Reply
Sunflower

I do agree that as we age being alone in a peaceful natural environment is relaxing and calming and it is a personal thing to enjoy and isn’t for everyone. Our very good friend sadly lost her husband after an illness in June and is really struggling with being alone in her own house. I’m sure with her strength and support of others it will ease and once the warmer weather arrives this will be much more less stressful for her. What this situation does is bring up many questions about our own personal circumstances and as to how we would cope with being alone as well as the inevitable loneliness, two entirely different things. Different circumstances certainly impact on whether we like to be alone and cope with this.

Reply
Jay

I cannot speak for all or even most. However, although I am married to a wonderful man, I still have need for a lot of alone time. It’s where I decompress, foster my creative side and pray ( how can one pray while being with or conversing with someone – distracting somewhat). I admit to being introverted and think extroverted people might struggle with alone time. Reflection time is necessary to return a perspective mindset sometimes. I agree with you Vicki – self confidence and security are key. Very good post.

Reply
Crawford

Hi Vicki
I’m glad that you wrote about the benefits of spending time alone. I am married with adult children and over the last couple couple of years have spent some time travelling alone. Initially it was because of unforeseen circumstances and now I choose to when I can.
After 27 years of always organising, thinking about and being responsible for others it is wonderful to just think of myself sometimes.
Two years ago I organised a skiing holiday in France for my son to ski and whilst there at 55, decided to learn how to ski. In January this year I returned solo to France to ski for a week alone at the same resort. I stayed in the same apartment and had a fantastic time. Just occasionally needing help from strangers when I realised I could not read maps.
I’ve learned that Being alone is only a problem if you tell yourself it is.

Reply
Lorraine

The first time I traveled to Europe from Australia, I had been married for only 7 years. I was 31 years old and I did it all by myself. For almost 2 months! Before that I had never been ANYWHERE all by myself! I found it to be the best ever experience. I met interesting people because I was alone, I had interesting passer-by conversation and I was often invited in a restaurant by the people at the next table to join them, because they heard my Aussie accent and wanted to chat! I enjoy my own company as well as being with my husband and friends and I think that is so important!

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Linda B

In my life, I mostly have had periods of time when I had regular time alone built into my daily or weekly rhythm, and have LOVED that. When my children were born, my husband was a newly minted RN who worked 8 hour evening shifts at the hospital. This meant that once the wee ones were down for the night, I had most of my evenings to myself before he came home around midnight. Within a few years, he changed to working 12 hour night shifts, so I it was a longer stretch alone. I came to really love that time to myself–even though I was sleeping for much of it! Many years later he rose through the ranks of nursing management at his hospital, and eventually became Chief of Medical Nursing. At first, having him work a day job was a bit jarring for me, as I didn’t have my evening alone time! Then, I left classroom teaching and mostly in the last 4 1/2 years have had Fridays off–hurrah for regular time to myself. I LOVE having that time. I am both an introvert and an extrovert, it seems. I use my day off for catching up on things at home and errands, but also, when possible, for my own creative projects. It makes me so happy to be alone on a regular basis! I totally need this.

Tomorrow is my husband’s very last day of work. I am so happy for him to retire after his long, successful career. I am a wee worried about how I will get my alone time now. . .But I think it will organically grow. I retire in 4 months. It will be such a new chapter of our lives! One thing I know for certain–I will have to build in regular alone time, in some way, because that is part of how I recharge myself for sure.

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Meg

So much wise insight in all these wonderful comments Vicki. It’s in my most alone times these past 4 years that I’ve experienced the deep & meaningful personal growth that I needed to make a start on. Clarity of thought & a clear picture of what I need to do to achieve my goals & ojectives come more easily when the house is so quiet I can almost hear my heart beating. But as you & I both know, alone is not lonely. A lovely piece xx

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