My roommates in college thought I was crazy, but I was totally that girl who would go to movies and restaurants by myself. Not in a sad way; I just figured if I wanted to go and no one else could then I would just still go. No big deal, and besides the alone time was nice. It allowed me to collect my thoughts, pray through stuff, and otherwise be entertained without feeling like I needed to talk or think about someone else. Sounds a little selfish, right? But it was always just so nice to have that space from time to time.
Since becoming a mother I am (in the most thankful way possible) never alone. My little man is always by my side, and I love it. I would never want it any other way. But I am still going through some of the side effects of the super-deep writing intensive from last month, the result of developing a line of questioning about what I do and why in every situation. I was in a constant state of wondering about ALL THE THINGS, which led me to question even more. Am I really doing what I should be doing? Am I really good at what I do, or are people lying to me? I could be better at it all – better wife, better mother, better writer, better planner, better writer, better photographer, friend, blogger, all of it. When it came time to start planning to leave on this past weekend’s trip to San Diego I had several mini panic attacks about what I would wear and how I would look and what I was leaving my family to do while I was gone. I asked Nate about a million times if I was screwing everything up, to which he would usually ask me why I would ask that.
Because I had started to lose sight of myself, that’s why. And it took going somewhere where I didn’t really know anybody to understand that.
So here are 5 little (big) lessons I learned from taking a trip by myself. Maybe they’ll help you, maybe not, but for me the act of entombing those lessons in my own words will help ME. Here goes!
- Vacation workouts are overrated. Hear me on this: I love working out. I do it 6 days a week, and would totally make that 7 if I didn’t know how important rest days are. But vacations? Trips? They’re hectic enough without it. If you’re like me and just need to sleep (sleep? what’s that?), that rest and all of the walking that inevitably happens is enough. I DID work out twice while I was there, but the last day I just walked along the beach and soaked it all in. So much better than a hotel fitness facility, amen?
- I don’t need other people to define who am. Geez, how many times will I have to realize this? My worth isn’t defined by what my husband/son/parents/sister/friends think of me. They don’t define who I am. The way that I help them doesn’t define it either. The only one, the only thing, who defines me is Christ alone. It took getting away by myself to come around to this one again, and I can promise you you’ll probably be reading these words once more in a future post. But for now, I know it. And I’ll live the freedom in that.
- I like to read SO SO SO SO SO much. I used to read all the time, choosing to do that rather than hang out with people and eat and play sports. I loved it. And while I don’t think I need to go full-blown recluse with it again, I certainly miss it and was reminded of that passion on this trip. Getting lost in a story is almost therapeutic, and I love the imagination that’s allowed when I read versus watch a movie. Note to self: read a LOT more often.
- Renting a car makes you a grown-up. Y’all, can I confess that I was so seriously worried about this! I mean, I’ve spent 30 years without ever having rented a car (under my name), and I didn’t want to screw it up. After a few mini freak-outs over the car situation plus a million questions for the Enterprise gal I finally got a car. And you know what? Me and that little grey Sonic got along fine, and I had a blast figuring out how to drive something new in a new place!
- I need to make more decisions for me. Not in a selfish way. Not to make much of Heather. But I know that I’ve been made, created, brought to life for a purpose. I believe a large part of that is service and the lifting up of others, but I also know that I also have influence that goes beyond our humble home. Being able to make decisions in that position means that I need to have confidence in my abilities, which means I need to practice.
Getting reacquainted with the girl who didn’t worry if others thought she was a loner at movies and restaurants – I got a glimpse of that gal this weekend, and I like her. She has gumption and spirit. She is passionate. She knows who she is and she knows WHOSE she is. She believes in the heart that God gave her. And she’s coming back. So thank you San Diego – you gifted me with more than fabulous sunsets and amazing food. You gave me back a little piece of me 🙂