I married into a family that knows everything about each other on a daily basis. They know when each other works, when they are going to the grocery store, who has a doctor's appointment, when each other is at work, when they are coming home, what plans are coming up, if a regular bowel movement was had that morning, etc. And, I must easily admit, I'm not fond of such a plan. Alas, they many times know when I work, where I'm going, when I'll be home, etc., I don't always like it very well. I like anonymity. I like not being totally connected to every single person I know....whether in person, by phone, by email, or otherwise. I like free time. I love alone time. In fact, I require it. My inner free spirit longs to jump ship! So it will come as no surprise that I don't like voice mails that say, "I know you're back in town and just wondering what you're doing and when you're going to the grocery store next." I typically ignore them. It's become my typical M.O. My extended family knows my friends and I know theirs. They come to parties of my extended friends. I have very few friends to myself. My family even used to go to church together. And that really bugged me.....I'm just saying. They somehow integrate themselves into my life, my blog, my home, my parties, my plans. And as much as I appreciate them, I don't like having every single part of my life knowing exactly what any other given piece is doing. Sounds like I have my cranky on, doesn't it? And I have over the years, believe me. I've lashed out, become horribly angry, demanded free time and alone time. Like I already said, I need it, I require it. And I rarely get it. My hubby works from home much of his work week -- so if I'm home, so is he. And we spent the first seven years of our life working together -- work, play, layovers, vacations, weekends and home....it was all together. I didn't really complain much. But as I've aged, I've changed. And I've begun to complain. Sometimes quite loudly. I have discovered that there are other dimensions to each of our lives that often go undiscovered or even avoided because "I" takes second stage to "we." I've discovered that I don't like blending into everyone else. I like me. Myself. And I. And there's not much of I left, quite frankly. If someone calls for Lewis, they typically call for "Lewis and Blair." Not just one of us. Much of our mail comes to both of us. Rarely (never??) is just one of us invited to a party or dinner or gathering. It's always both. I have no friends of my very own that I've discovered in and of myself and remain my own. Even this blog has become communal. Those who read my blog, typically read his....and the other way around. My friends have become others friends and likewise. It was only a few months ago that I took my very own vacation, by myself, alone. It was weird, I must say...but, at the same time, I loved it. Somewhere along the line, I've gone missing in action.
Now, I know that I sound like I'm grasping at straws here....and in some ways, I am. I love my husband dearly. And I will do whatever is necessary to make his life as easy as I can. It's not about a lack of love or any of those little games. It's simple: About losing me in a sea of we. I have found myself doing things to try and actually craft time alone. And then, when I have a few hours alone, I have so many things that I want to do, I don't do any of them....I'm overwhelmed. I should go to the gym, yoga, downstairs for coffee alone. But there are friends who want to have coffee with me. Maybe go to the beach. Or to the store just to wander without a shopping list. Or to the Japanese Garden for a morning of solace. Or friends or family who want me to go here or there with them. Or go to the gym with them. Or plan a vacation with them. And the phone rings....checking in on me. And a text message arrives. Or or or or or or ---------. It's better today than it used to be, I'm starting to get it ironed out, but it's been exhausting in the past. Tiring. Icky. Not pretty. And if I were to tell you precisely what it is that I want to change, I may even struggle to put it down in writing. I just want a few more friends of my own, just my own. A few days, and evenings, by myself. To go have a drink in a bar...by myself....sitting at the end of the counter, listening to other's conversations. Taking it all in. To have time at home without commitment or obligation or a schedule. To see a movie without knowing that I have to go home at a certain hour or report in. Am I wrong? Am I a bad husband?
My honey (and, yes, I definitely do mean honey!) and I are a bit different in that respect. He needs less alone time than I do. But he's done a nice job of taking his alone time and learning to listen. To his heart, his life, his plans. He hasn't always liked it too well but he's learning to be alone. I think even he has hidden behind me sometimes. But he's such a valuable player in this relationship. He is more than able to stand by himself with his head held high. He has begun to develop the ability to say, "No" to requests that are not necessary. He knows what it means to protect me and my time. He knows that I don't like him telling anyone where I am or when I'll be home. And, I must easily admit, that he's the best husband in the world. We've both grown and changed in beautiful ways through our years together. You wouldn't believe the experiences we've been able to share together. And neither our time alone, nor our time together, takes away from the total beautiful conglomerate that has become our life.
As I've approached middle age, I have this vision from time to time of what the second half of my life may look like. I know, for sure, that I am with the best man anyone could ever ask for. That's a given. But I also know that I want my life speckled with new friends of just my own, time of my own, vacations of my own, explorations of my own. And it's a good thing, not a bad thing. It adds dimension to one's life and allows one to expand well beyond the closed-in four walls that many of us exist in. Some enjoy the sheltered life inside....but not me. I want to have my hands in as many things as I can before my time is over here. Some of that time is shared time. Other bits of it are private time. But it all adds up to this thing we call life. I want to be there for my honey whenever he needs me....and I have no doubt that he's there for me 100% of the time.