Thursday, June 12, 2003

Who I Am When I'm By Myself

Well, not exactly by myself, but more so than usual. Adam left yesterday to take Drew to his parents for the week. Franny is here with me, but having half the family gone makes a big difference. I got a lot done last night after Franny went to bed, mostly because I was putting off going to bed by myself. Also, there's something about being the only responsible adult on duty that makes you realize that unless you do it, it won't get done.

I suspect I don't get enough solitary time. I'm a fairly extroverted person, but I need alone time to recharge, and alone time is in short supply when you have young children. The closest I get is locking myself in the office and writing or surfing on the internet, which isn't the same as being truly alone, even if Adam is running interference with the kids. There again, I think I do a better job at chores, and finishing projects if I'm by myself. Maybe it's that I don't multi-task very well, so it's hard for me to completely immerse myself in what needs to be done if I'm also watching kids?

My biggest regret is that I've never lived alone. I lived with my parents (and my brother), then lived in the college dorm, and moved from there to Adam's apartment when we got married. I honestly can't think when I've been alone for more than a few hours, certainly not in the past 6 years. The closest I've ever come to living alone is the semester my room mate moved out at the last minute and it was too late to find a replacement. I was still living in the dorm, but I had a room all to myself.

I occasionally fantasize about what it would be like to be the final controlling authority on everything in my life. I could have everything just so, and know that no one would mess it up. I'd organize the books my way. I'd know that if I saved the last cookie for later, it would be there when I got back. I could change my plans on a whim and never have to consult with anyone. I'd avoid all those petty arguments about the best way to do laundry / mop the floor / cook spaghetti sauce. There are times when it sounds like heaven.

I feel obligated to insert here that I realize how blessed I am, and that I love my family. Also, because I am truly an extrovert, I think I would be very, very lonely living by myself. Most of the time I don't need less community around me, but more (especially of the adult variety). One of the reasons I enjoyed that semester in the dorm so much is that I had the best of both worlds - a thriving community of friends and companions a few steps away, and a private sanctuary to retreat to when I felt the need. Maybe I just need a treehouse in the backyard - preferably one that I can pull the ladder up on. . . .

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