A SWEET ESCAPE
Yesterday I ran away from home...for five hours. It felt great to have five glorious hours all to myself to do whatever I wanted. No one yelled, "Mom, where are my socks?" or "Mom, when's dinner?" I didn't have to listen to anyone's complaints or pre-pubescent attitudes. It was a slice of Heaven and I plan to do it more often.
No matter how great a family gets along, every one in that family needs time away. And the need for solitude should always be respected. There have been times when I needed to be alone on the same day we were planning to go visit family or friends. Instead of going and pretending to be sociable, I chose to go to the library or the mall to be by myself and refresh my spirit. I'm sure that some people didn't understand my decision and maybe even took it personally, as if I didn't want to see them. But that wasn't the case. I simply realized that I needed to get away, and I knew that if I didn't, no one would enjoy my company anyway.
I can always tell when someone in the room needs a sweet escape. They don't want to be where they are. And in my opinion, they should have stayed home. It's nice to see family and friends, but my need to see them isn't greater than their needs. And if what they need is solitude, then that's what they should have.
Yet, for some reason, taking time for ourselves often comes with a certain amount of guilt, as if we don't deserve such a luxury. A few years ago, I dreaded going to the funeral of a family member. I was going through a very stressful situation, and I just couldn't bring myself to go. Yet I knew that my absence would be questioned. And I worried that I would appear disrespectful. I realize now that I was suffering from exhaustion and the stress of a serious life change. What I needed was rest. So I listened to what my body and mind were crying out for and I didn't go to the funeral.
We've had several family gatherings since then, and not a single person has asked me why I wasn't there. Feeling guilty had been a waste of energy. And I decided that from then on, I would take the time I needed when I needed it, no matter what event was planned. Of course, there are times when we need to push through, put on a happy face and make an appearance. But we know by instinct when we must be tough and when we can give in to that need for a sweet escape.