I have a family life, I have a great international job. And since my kids were born, I am enjoying once a year a week, alone. Alone. Not with friends, far cousin, grand aunt, … Alone. I am just leaving the town, staying in a room in Paris, Lyon, or wherever I want, and I spend one week. Alone.
It is very complex to explain to people around me that I am doing that. Friends, colleagues and relatives just stare at me, asking *the* question ‘and what about your children ?’. Well, they have a father. And by the way, their father does the same, once a year, he goes far away and enjoys it. The main purpose for that week for me is writing. But there are some aside benefits coming with it.
Realizing. When I am alone, I am realizing how people (and things) drive my life instead of me. As a mother, a friend and a working woman, involved in innovation, I am handling dozens of topics a day. I switch from one to another, keeping the best of it, welcoming the next one. Same for people, I am constantly in meeting, calls, brainstorm. I am having an attitude to adapt myself to a lot of constraints, conversation, personnalities. Work, family, friends. Everyone’s knocking at my door, anytime, is most of the welcome, as I am the kind of person enjoying far too much new stuff.
Experiencing. So imagine the contrast. Spending one week with no one, empty planning, no meeting. Life gets really really quiet. You wake up alone, you have your coffee alone, usually *very* late, you walk in the street alone, you eat whatever meal you like, you jump in any bus, visit any place. No consensus. You decide each single action of your day, with no limit. And then you can start realizing and understanding all the ropes guiding or embracing your life.
Being nice with yourself. Another reason why I believe it is important to be alone : spending some time with yourself is a way to treat yourself right. Getting the attention you deserve.Spending your time and attention only to others is the best way to forget yourself and be driven into situation you don’t really choose or like. Yes, that’s life, with no bad intention, people tends to divert you.
Thinking about you. Experiencing to be the only parameter in your own life is a thing. So after few days, when the magic of loneliness and autonomy happens, this is the right time to look at your project and habits and ask : why am I doing that ? what is the best for me ? what is sweet in my life ? where are my limits (real or perceived) ? Well, challenging some choices and habits. All the question we sometimes fail to ask, being in the race (or comfort) of life.
Beware. I am not claiming this situation – thinking about you, yourself and no one else – should happen all the year, or that you should become an asocial and selfish person (actually, you could, but, well, that’s not exactly my style, neither my purpose). But this a time where you put yourself in the middle of the picture and have a chance to question your life. And that is interesting.
Just try it. You can only benefit from better listening to you.