I was reading this article from Mark's Daily Apple, where he talks about the restorative power of the personal retreat. And it got me to thinking that I would like to go on a personal retreat.
See, I like to be alone.
But, in being a wife and mother, I hardly get any time alone. There is some time at the end of the night when I can be alone, but I tend crash into that time with a "Congratulations to me, I made it to the end of the day" exhaustion and don't do anything productive with it anyway.
And, by productive, I mean thinking time. Contemplating time.
Sometimes, even with scheduled time alone (which I do get, on occasion), like in the middle of the day, there is other stuff that needs to be done (like working on pictures, making supper, and all the rest of it). So, that doesn't really make for the kind of alone time I want either.
This is why I need a personal retreat. I want time to REALLY be alone. A time to get bored. A time to think. A time to get to know myself again.
I guess I kind of had this in November, in what has come to be known as "Allison's Thanksgiving", and it was great. I was on call to photograph at a birth, so I ended up staying home while the rest of my family went out of town for Thanksgiving. My husband. The kids. The brother-in-law that we live with. His dog. I had the house completely to myself and it was wonderful. Other than a rather pathetic trip to Cub Foods to pick up some packaged comfort food on Thanksgiving Day (Velveeta Shells and Cheese, don't judge), the weekend was perfectly lovely and just what I needed.
So, now I want that again because November was too long ago.
I don't know if you can tell this by reading this blog or not, but I am an introvert. And, as Mark writes in a follow up to his personal retreat article, "According to the standard introvert/extrovert model, those who are more introverted than extroverted tend to stock their energy stores by spending time alone. Those who are more extroverted than introverted, re-energize more by spending time with others."
Being an introvert isn't just a matter of being shy (which I am, but not as much as I once was)... it's about where we go to restore ourselves.
And I haven't had that much lately. The world just seems too... loud. Too busy. Too much.
Minnesota has this State Fair every year ("The Great Minnesota Get-Together") that EVERYBODY seems to love. And I can't stand it. Just too many people. Even family holidays (Vern has four siblings) are overwhelming, with all these family members crammed into one little house. Not fun. And the Zumba class that I go to on Thursday is too crowded. And Mom's Nights Outs are getting crowded (which is why I stay into the wee hours, so I can be there for the time when the group dwindles down to only a handful of people). And last weekend, we went to the Mall of America for Ocean's birthday. Which wouldn't have been a big deal, but it was the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts and there was some concert thing going on in the rotunda. And there were Girl Scouts everywhere. Crowding us. Making our line for the Flying Dutchman ropes course long. Smiling at us.
So, yes, I would like a personal retreat. It would be nice.