I just moved home after teaching for a year in remote Montana where I was surrounded by wind, silence, very little traffic, and sometimes the sound of kids pounding a basketball at the courts at the school across from my house.
Moving home has been a shock to the system. I can hear my neighbor’s phone ringing when I open my bedroom window, and I can hear some guy coughing early in the morning.
I do my best thinking in silence, and moving home has been both good and totally overwhelming. I’ve had no silence. My clothes are not completely unpacked, and I have mounds of mail to deal with.
To try to relax, I took my kids to Yellowstone. The weekend after that, I walked a half marathon. Taking my kids to Yellowstone was cool, and we saw beautiful, amazing geysers. Yet, the hoards of rude tourists fighting for parking spots unnerved me a bit. Walking a half marathon was rewarding, but I was worn out.
Today, my kids went to summer camp for a week, and I walked for hours alone near a beautiful river. As I walked surrounded by the sound of rushing water, and the flutter of little birds, part of me started to unwind to make space for all the things I need to do. Today was the first time I had alone time since I came home.
I used to feel like a weirdo because I relished time alone. In college I rented study rooms, so I could languish there for hours by myself reading books without being interrupted. As a working mom, I feel guilty for needing time here and there just for myself, especially when there is always so much to do, and especially when so much depends on me.
One of my friends who’s nearly 70 once gave me some great advice. She told me to remember that I’m a woman with my own needs. She said that if I have two days off, spend one day with my kids, and spend the other day on me.
So today, I walked along a river. The mound of clothes I need to put away can wait one more day or maybe two.
I hope my blog inspires you to believe in yourself more and feel less alone in the world. I, for one, am inspired by the imperfections of others who continue to rise up again and again despite life's challenges. May we find ways to inspire and support each other.