It is Sunday as I write this post and it is the first free day I have had since Tuesday. What with band rehearsals, guitar teaching and working at the Comedy Nest, I have been relatively busy and have had to interact with a variety of people including friends, students and strangers alike. And while I do enjoy the company of people, I also enjoy my solitude, my ME time.
What you may not know about me is that I am quite shy – although those who know me might say otherwise.
When I was a kid, I was actually painfully shy and missed out on a bunch of friendships – especially in the girlfriend department – along with other youthful pursuits.
In my late teens I realized that I really needed to work on getting over my shyness, and over the course of a few years I strove to be more open with people. I always made sure I was the first to extend my hand or offer an embrace and I always made sure to give people the time of day, even if I didn’t know them.
Over the years it has gotten progressively easier to hide my shyness and to exude an outgoing manner. But truth be told, I sometimes find this a tad draining! Having to always “be on” as a music teacher, band member, front man, employee, customer, co-worker, acquaintance, father-figure, and even friend is at times, tiring, and I need to just spend a day on my own recharging my batteries so to speak.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about being “on” during the various life moments I share with others. I truly love interacting with people, getting to know them to the point where I am in their lives and they are in mine. It’s just that at times I feel the need to reconnect with myself. To have some time by myself to think, to plan, to focus on what’s around the corner, or to simply do nothing at all.
In short, I need to get away from my team for a few moments – or days – and revisit myself.
To me, this is the beauty of living a simple lifestyle. It – simple living – has provided me with an understanding that I don’t always have to be “on”. I can disconnect when I need to, and be free to just be me!
So…how do I do this?
Well, let me tell ya!
It’s very simple actually.
I make sure that I have at least one full day, from morning to night (although I like to shoot for two), that I can spend by myself doing whatever I feel like doing, or not doing.
This may include reading, thinking, getting caught up on some TV shows, drinking tea, listening to music, writing a blog post, playing guitar, petting my cat, surfing mindlessly on the Internet, getting caught up with my favorite bloggers – yes, I am referring to you – napping, or just sitting in my favorite chair vegging and/or reflecting on the next few days.
Now, while all this may sound rather humdrum and categorically dull, that’s the point. I am purposefully enjoying my time, living in the moment with no prior expectations from myself or anyone else. I let the moment, along with my mood, dictate what my next action event will be, if any.
I of course can do this easily as I am happily single and self-employed, with abundant – relatively speaking – free time.
If however, you are a wife, husband, mother, father, employee, caregiver, or even workaholic, finding an extended period of time to spend by yourself could prove to be difficult, and understandably so. However, if there is a way you can do this, even for a few hours every once in a while, it would be sooooo worth it!
There’s also an added bonus when you disconnect, recharge, then reconnect, and that is you “come back” so to speak, with fresh ideas, perspectives and possibly even solutions to problems that were plaguing you previously. At least this is my experience.
You see, while you are focusing solely on yourself, your subconscious has time to finally help decipher some of the issues that it wasn’t fully able to spend time on prior to your disconnect.
Now of course I am making assumptions here and have no scientific data to back up my claim. That being said however, I do have experience with this exact phenomena and here it is:
When I was a young lad learning to play guitar, whenever I would have trouble learning a new song – and remember, I am self taught so I had lots of trouble early on – I would throw my guitar across the room onto my bed, swear a bunch and storm out of my room (I don’t advise you do this!).
I would then leave the house or do something else like watch TV or go to a movie.
For the next day or two I wouldn’t even touch my guitar and then when I felt ready to continue on, I would almost immediately be able to play the exact thing I wasn’t able to do the day or two before!! Was that because I’m a guitar genius? Maybe! More likely though, it was a case of my subconscious working out the issues that needed to be worked out while my focus was on other things unrelated.
I have also found that if you need to work out some issues or concerns you’ve been dealing with, having about twenty minutes to yourself as soon as you wake up can sometimes be as good as having a few hours later in the day.
The idea here is that after a good night’s sleep, your mind is clear of the usual extraneous voices you deal with all day, including your own. Spending some time alone allows you to think through a problem while still having a fresh mind to mull things over. If you can make this a habit everyday or every other day, imagine how much better your overall frame of mind could be.
Case in point: a good friend of mine has what she calls her “quiet room”. This is nothing more than a very small, carpeted room inside her walk-in closet. As soon as she wakes, she spends twenty minutes in there lost in thoughtful meditation and personal reflection. Once done, she tells me she is eager to take on the day and has “exorcised” the previous days demons away!
As she has a husband and five children, you can imagine how important ME time is for her away from her “team”. Even if it is just twenty minutes a day it can truly make a world of difference if you let it.
For now though, I think I’ll stick with having a free ME day or two each week to reconnect with myself. I truly find that this makes me a better person as well as a happier person. I think this could be the same for you, and, at the end of the day, isn’t that what counts!?
So…how do you find free time to disengage?
Do you feel the need for some ME time, or do you feel this would not be to your advantage?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please continue the discussion in the comments section below.
Thanks and take care.
All the best.