When my kids were little I would crave time alone like a drug. Between family and work, it felt like every minute of every day was accounted for by service and I just wanted to hang out with me for a moment or two.
Sometimes I would drive to the shops for milk and stay in the car park for a while, listening to music while life went on around me. I never once saw another mum in another car, isolating herself from the world like me. So when I came home from the shops I said that traffic was bad.
The need to be away from my kids, my home, my life, felt like it should be a secret. So I lingered on the walk home from work, had extra-long showers, spent a lot of time in cars, staring out the window at a bustling, hustling world. Two minutes here, five minutes there, it all equated to time where I was not available and somehow ceased to be. Stolen moments where my mind was blank, my heart merely beating. Little silent chats with myself.
These days, my kids are all at school and I work from home. Seemingly, my days are now filled with long stretches of time alone, but there I am, still productively beavering away, rushing to fit it all in, filling every moment with service and outcomes. Last week I sat in my car out the front of my empty house and ironically listened to a podcast about Living Simply. I got caught up listening to Kelly and Brooke while on the drive back from the school run and I took time out to finish.
Outside the birds swooped and called, the walkers beat on past and the sun rose a smidgen more over the treetops and for the first time in a long time I was truly alone. Turns out that being by ourselves isn’t what makes us alone. Alone is simply time itself — snatched back from a hurried life; soft, pliant and momentarily endless.
Do you crave being alone? Do you snatch time?