This will be a quick post as we are currently in British Columbia to visit family and celebrate the wedding of our niece. We had a very early start, and by the time we got to my mother and step father’s home an hour north of Victoria on Vancouver Island it was late afternoon and we were very tired.
We headed to our room for a rest, and while Don dozed off right away I had trouble settling down, so I headed out for a walk on my own. Half an hour later I was sitting on a rock in a liitle cove looking out on sea otters frolicking in the bay, doing some breathing exercises, and luxuriating in the time alone.
Although it’s not always obvious to those who mostly see me in a professional context, I am a true introvert who needs time by myself to recharge my batteries. When Don was working he typically worked one evening each week and at least every other Saturday, giving me plenty of time alone, but since he retired that essential time to myself has been in short supply.
I’ve been coping primarily by swimming as often as possible – 45 minutes of swimming laps with nothing but my thoughts for company does wonders for my attitude and energy.
My retirement will relieve me of a lot of the interactions that are currently so draining, but it will also mean a lot more togetherness for Don and me. He’s a born extrovert so he doesn’t always realize when I just need some time alone. I’m learning to tell him when I need him to give me some space, even if it’s just for a 30 minute nap by myself in our bedroom, and he’s learning that this is not a rejection of him, but I think managing our different needs for interaction will be one of our biggest challenges. I can see that this will be an even bigger challenge for me as he ages and needs more attention and care.
I know I will need to develop some strategies for ensuring that I get the “alone time” that I need. In the meantime, I carved out time for another shorter walk this afternoon…balm for my introverted soul.