I am walking on Union Street in San Francisco with my sister early this summer when she blurts out, “You know, every girl just needs a new bauble now and then!” Laughing, I ask her to repeat her words and make a mental note because I love the humor and lightness in her statement. It’s packed with meaning: girl time and getting away from the demands of everyday life. I soon realized that I would need a new bauble in a different form, a bauble in the form of away time alone.
Many years ago as a mom, I learned to surrender myself to summer, because routine goes out the window as soon as flowers are in full bloom and whole watermelon is available on grocery store shelves. But even with letting go and turning on my go-with-the-flow attitude, this summer I completely lost my footing.
It started in June with the launch of my online company, Create Harmony, and my foray into the daunting and intimidating world of social media, about which I am still learning. Then came attending my niece’s wedding in California and my oldest teen returning from being away at school but never resettling due to out-of-the-country adventures. I would shield my eyes when I passed her room full of unpacked boxes and luggage, books and dirty laundry. We attended lacrosse tournaments around the state as my son plays competitively, and August ended with him getting his driver’s license.
With my husband working out of town five days a week, I found little time to write and articles were getting backlogged in my head, where design ideas were piling up as well. My journal had become a long lost friend. I couldn’t seem to center myself long enough to write, design, create, or do anything that normally brings me joy. I was becoming irritable and unmotivated. I’d been thinking about taking a writing retreat in October but decided instead that that my fall retreat would have to happen now. I started searching for places nearby so as not to spend too much of my sacred alone time driving. Well, Colorado is just great for lending itself to a quick get-away. You can drive an hour and a half in any direction from Denver and find yourself in new surroundings that make you feel far from home.
On the day I left, the roads were wet and traffic moved slowly on I-70 West. I didn’t care – I was by myself and headed to the mountains in Vail, accompanied by my journal, a tub of colorful new knitting projects, a bag full of binders containing my designs, a laptop to finish writing projects, and me, myself and I!
Three nights away were the original plan but I managed to sneak in a fourth. I wrote, I knitted, I journaled, I meditated, I kept my own schedule, I ordered room service, I took several baths, I hiked, walked, biked and played, I organized my thoughts and I nourished myself from head to soul. I had alone time with God.
I came back on a Rocky Mountain High – sorry couldn’t help the words, but they’re an appropriate description. I made the much needed time for myself happen and I am still reaping the rewards of feeling centered, mentally clear, energized, and ready to take on the task of leaving for New York City and getting my daughter set up in her college dorm room.
There is something magical and rewarding about making time for you. It is a statement to yourself and to others that you matter and that you are worthy of nourishing. When was the last time you planned time alone with just you? If you have been thinking about it, then this is your sign!
My tips for planning time away for yourself:
Don’t expect others to jump in and say, “Dearest, or mom, you look like you need some time away.” You need to make this happen for yourself! Once you’ve committed and reservations have been made, the adventure kicks in-now you have something to look forward to.
Three nights away can make a huge difference so don’t delay planning a trip because you think you need more time. Even one night away with a change of atmosphere can give you a nice boost.
Bring all the things you love to do, but don’t pressure yourself to get anything done while you’re away. Enjoy being on your own timing and make sure you play!
There are getaways for any budget. Consider hotel packages, day spas or recreation centers like the YMCA, which have wonderful facilities across the United States. The YMCA Estes Park is one of my favorites.