Four Days of One’s Own

Redwood trees in California

An unexpected gift – spouse and small child off to visit the Grandparents. I stay home to save money, keep the pool from turning green and spare the dog the ordeal of being abandoned for the second time this summer. And to give myself a chance to think, breath, drown in quietness.

Thoughts before:

Four full days and two partial ones to do as I please. And what would please me?  Gorge on junk food and movies?  Lots of sleeping?  Spend all day floating around the pool?  Read books all day with a box of chocolates by my side?  All of the above!

Did I want to make a plan to use every blissfully all mine moment?  Or did I just want to wake up and see how the day unfolded? I decided to make a loose plan for three of the days and let one day be spontaneous.  I wouldn’t pick which day but just let it find me.

My planned days had me doing stuff on the computer and getting my 10k steps done in the morning.  Lunch would be my main meal and after cleaning up I would watch a movie.  Then putter around or read a bit before taking a swim somewhere around 5:00p.  (Still very warm out but avoiding the brutal desert sun.)   Next would be a salad for dinner and dessert.  After that reading or watching television.

The Reality: 

The first two days pretty much followed the plan.  Saturday and Sunday went unplanned.  The break as a whole was fabulous.  I seldom left the house and I drank in the peace and quiet.  I will try and summarize how things went.

Things that surprised me:

  1. How little interest I had in cooking.
  2. Finding a dead mouse in the pool one morning and a live scorpion in the dog’s food bowl one evening. (Such is life in the desert.)
  3. Taking two naps.
  4. How little time I spent in my office.  I spent much more time in my bedroom watching movies on my computer, reading, journaling and thinking.  And taking those two naps.
  5. Starting to do yoga again, rather out of the blue and completely unplanned.
  6. Learning I wake up at 6:30a on my own.
  7. I not only swam everyday, but at different times of day.
  8. How poorly I am coping with the heat these days.  It was over 100° F every day and I hated it. Especially two very windy days.  Hot breezes are not good.

What I ate:

Mostly leftovers or eggs.  I did indulge in a few chocolates (okay most of a medium sized box), ice cream for dinner one night, and one fast food meal (Chick-fil-a).  In the interest of full disclosure I also ate two donuts that I “accidently” grabbed when I stopped for milk after church.  A Boston creme and a chocolate iced cake donut and they were yummy!

Movies I watched:

  1. “Rebecca”
  2. “The Shipping News”
  3. “A Perfect Murder”
  4. “The Guns of Navarro”
  5. “Twenty-One Days”
  6. “Housewife, 49”
  7. And some Christmas movie on the Hallmark channel

Books I read:

  1. “The Union Quilters” by Jennifer Chiaverini
  2. “The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen” by Lindsay Ashford
  3. “Magical Journey” by Katrina Kenison
  4. “A Year By the Sea” by Joan Anderson

I also read a bunch of articles on the internet about coping with menopause, specifically when you have younger children.  My longing for quiet and stillness is perfectly normal at this stage of my life.  Many women feel the need to take a bit of a time out and evaluate their present and their future when they hit fifty or thereabouts.  But most women’s children at my age are out of the nest or soon will be.  I am looking at ten more years of full time mothering.  I need to find a way to balance my needs with the demands of parenting a young child.

Basically all the articles said the same thing about coping with menopause, you have to take care of yourself.  Reduce stress and you minimize the menopausal meltdowns. I was already learning that.  Life was on a more even keel since I started giving myself a bit of quiet time each morning.  Maybe I could do a bit more to take care of myself?

New priorities I made based on what I learned and dreamed about:

  1. Do yoga or meditate every day.  Even if I only meditate for five minutes.
  2. Take time to stop throughout the day and repeat my mantra. (It is sort of silly so I am not sharing it.  Unless you really want to know and then just ask.)
  3. It is okay to stop and ask what I really want to do at any particular moment, and then do it.
  4. Continue on with my good habits of 10k steps, quiet time and getting to bed early.
  5. After a bit of experimenting I have decided food is not at the base of all my ailments.  But I still want to eat healthy, simple meals avoiding as much processed junk as I have the willpower for.
  6. Be more mindful with everything I do.  Folding laundry, cooking dinner, taking a swim.  Stay in the moment as much as possible.  I am so tired of worrying about the future or reflecting on poor choices made in the past.  I need to learn to simply be here.
  7. I really wanted to be outside but not in the crazy heat.  I have promised myself a day up in the mountains once the weather breaks.  So probably not til late September but it is nice to make a promise to myself.

Some of these tasks are going to be very hard and some will get dropped before they barely get started.  But some will stick, maybe not exactly as how I imagined them but hopefully exactly as I need them.



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