My husband leaves town today without me, a rare occurrence. Unlike me, he's not someone who travels for work or conferences, or would journey great distances in the name of, say, a music festival. Although he enjoys travel as much as I do, he's a homebody who would be equally happy spending a vacation at home. So usually if Marc is going somewhere, I'm right there with him. (And I probably talked him into going.) But this time he is off on his own, spending the weekend with some old friends. I love these friends, who we don't get to see often, and am sorry to miss the opportunity to visit with them and their beautiful children. It was a hard decision for me, when he was booking this trip a couple of months ago, to look at my calendar and assess the state of my life, and say "no, I think I'll stay home." In fact, I think it might have been the first time I have ever said no to an opportunity to go anywhere.
While the basic foundation of my life is very stable - I've lived in the same place, worked at the same job, and have been married to the same person for many years now - I am constantly on the move, and require regular changes of scenery. For someone without children, I manage to live a remarkably chaotic life. A marathoner, a partner in a growing business, and an engaged member of my community, I'm certainly busy, but will generally never pass up the opportunity to throw something else onto the pile of life in the name of time with a friend, a good meal, or a visit to a new place. Most of the time this suits me pretty well, but over the past year I've noticed the need for a change. Perhaps it's the wisdom (and waning energy) of age. These days when I realize on a Thursday night that we don't have plans for Friday, instead of racing to make a dinner reservation or round up friends for a night out, I now think excitedly about an evening at home with Marc, a home-cooked meal, and a nice walk with the dog. Sadly, I have never once thought "I'll do a load of laundry!" or "Time to clean the bathroom!" when I find those free time slots on my calendar. Maybe someday I'll get there.
When I get home from work this evening, 48 hours of solitude will lay before me, and I'm hereby challenging myself not to fill it up. My plans so far involve a Pilates class tonight, a 15-mile training run tomorrow morning, and maybe a little swim on Sunday. Hopefully not much else. I'm not on-call, so the phone will be off, and I'm currently engrossed in a great book. It's rare that I'm alone in our little condo, so I intend to stretch out and fill the place - with quiet.