A few weeks back I had the very interesting experience of all the men in my life being completely out of contact.
My boys went off to the Boundary Waters for a week of canoeing with the Scouts.
My sweetheart was in Alaska for ten days of fishing with a couple of his friends.
None of them could be called or texted so I experienced complete autonomy for about five days. It was enlightening.
When I was in the midst of my breakup the general consensus was that I needed to be by myself for a while to enjoy being single. People talked about how great it is to do your own thing, to answer to no one, to follow your own rhythms. While I understood the words, I had no idea what they meant. Honestly, I was too terrified.
Fast forward a couple years and I am in a really wonderful relationship, my boys are growing fast and becoming independent, and I am suddenly completely without men. I experienced what it was like to truly enjoy my own company. With no one to expend energy onto I spent it all on myself, and I loved it.
I woke up early and hiked with Albany and her dog, I came home and drank coffee, meditated, did yoga, and took time to wake up my body before the day. I journaled and took myself out to dinner every night with only a book for company. Honestly, it was bliss.
I thought I was going to spend every evening with a different friend but aside from a couple concerts (one very rainy) I was mostly alone and I was 100 percent into it.
I got into such a lovey routine that I was sad that it ended, it made coming back to my life kind of hard.
I don’t know if I would have felt so completely free if I were not in such a nourishing relationship with my sweetheart. Knowing that he is in my pocket (and I in his) released me of any concerns about finding love, so I realize that some of my perceived freedom is because I am in a relationship, rather than not being in one. It was just on hold as he was taking a dream vacation and I was feeling totally secure.
Also, a huge amount of my energy goes into my boys, so it’s not just the relationship that sucks up my energy. But still, there was a part of me that felt sad about letting go of all that freedom and it took us a little time to reconnect. He felt my distance. So we did what we have become really good at, which is talking about it.
In the end he had the best and only solution … do less for the boys, do less for him, do more for myself.
It has been several weeks since things went back to normal and I’ve gotten back into it. I’m doing my best to continue with my self-care. I feel like my sweetheart is my ally in this endeavor and I see my future taking form. Once the boys are no longer living at home and in high school, I could see myself spending the majority of my time in Fort Collins but with a couple nights in Boulder at my home.
I would be able to continue renting it that way. I would keep a foot in the city that I love, have time maintain those friendships, do pottery, and recharge. I think it would be healthy for both of us, my sweetheart has his own zone of autonomy that he should be protective of as well. My father has had a similar arrangement with his wife of 30 years; she spends part of the week with him in Salt Lake and the rest in her home an hour and a half away.
I see how it has worked for them and I appreciate being able to talk to them about the benefits and challenges of this kind of schedule. Like father, like daughter, I guess.
I just feel so lucky to have all the support – both structural and emotional – that allows me to have this life. I have wonderful friends who are here for me, encouraging me at every junction, and financial situation that feels blessed but is actually more dumb luck, getting some good advice a long time ago, intergeneration wealth, and my own way of solving problems.