Years ago when I was still teaching in high school and my kids were very young, all I wished for sometimes during the day was to have a quiet moment for myself. A moment to just sit and relax and breathe and look around. I would consider myself lucky if every now and then I found a few minutes, no matter how short, during the day, to have a cup of coffee in peace.
Sometimes I would be so caught up with the events of the day and the things I had to do that I would go to bed wondering if I could be more disciplined and organize my time in such a way that I would have some free time for myself. But the next day would be the same, and so would the day after. At the end of each day I would be too exhausted to even keep my eyes open. I would get frustrated, mad and angry at myself for not being in control of my life, etc.
So I decided the best way to deal with my problem was to make the days longer. I set the alarm at 5:00 in the morning and for one and a half hours I had my coffee, I scanned the headlines in the newspaper, solved the crossword puzzle and read my book. The first few days were difficult since I didn’t go to bed until midnight with all the marking and preparing I had to do. But then with this new formula I was so much happier. I had made it happen.
Decades have passed since then, and although I don’t teach anymore and my kids are young adults I still wake up at 5:00 every morning and at times even earlier. I have hours and even days of ‘alone’ or ‘me’ time now. But at some point during the day it gets so quiet that I wish for some noise and for too many things to do. Because when I am alone:
“And when you’re alone there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.” Dr. Seuss
Things like you had and you have lost. Things like memories that you will not have again because some people have gone from your life. Things like dreams you had but could not make come true. Things like life and death. The more you think of those things the sadder and lonelier you become. But then you think and think and:
“When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad…
you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more…
oh, ever so much more…
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you!” Dr. Seuss