One of my favourite movies is “Out of Africa” where a tragically married Meryl Streep (Karen) falls in love with Robert Redford (Denys), a free spirit who is unwilling to settle down, until (spoiler alert) he decides, at the very end, to make his way back to her only to crash his plane en route – devastating! Regardless, one of the best lines in the movie comes near the end of the film, when Redford’s character says, “You ruined it for me you know?”, and Meryl answers: “What?” to which he replies with a defeated look in his eye, “Being alone.” I know, I know… and your point is? I’m getting there, read on.
Serenity in solitude
After a lovely chat with a friend of mine earlier today, it became suddenly clear how my perspective on solitude and singledom has changed. After five years of being in a committed relationship, I no longer crave downtime. I don’t need time alone to gather my thoughts, and, given the chance, I would always choose to have my husband at home, than away traveling for work, or out with the guys. As the words came out of my mouth, I found myself shaking my head, wondering when the freedom seeking Sagittarius had swapped her bow and arrow for a broom and dustpan? Who am I? I suddenly realized that I’m no longer just a woman, a writer, a traveler, a runner, a friend, a lover, etc. In addition to being all these other things, that I always was, now, I’m also someones wife . Gulp!
From “me” to “we”
After taking a few hours to mull things over, I came to a couple of conclusions. First of all, I haven’t always felt this way about “me time”. When I was single, I loved being single. I relished the opportunity to do whatever it was I deemed to be highest on my priority list; from getting together with girlfriends to dance the night away to going for a late-night workout, ordering in my favourite food, or snuggling up with an episode of Sex and the City in my flannel pajamas and a bowl full of popcorn, my time was well spent, and well-enjoyed. Yes, it’s true that every women is secretly on the lookout for Mr.Right, but in all honestly, the single life is a good one and should be taken advantage of, while it lasts!
Next up, I realized that the difference between ‘then’ and ‘now’ is that now I have someone in my life who I actually like to be around, all the time. My husband and I spend almost every night together during the week and truth be told? I love it! While I’m the first to sign up for language lessons or fitness classes during the week, if we find ourselves with a night-off, we look so forward to watching a movie, cooking dinner together, playing a game of chess, or grabbing a coffee across the way. Our time together at night is when we catch up on the chaos that takes place during the working hours. Given the amount of social activities that pile up on the weekends, we end up dishing out our time sparingly during the week, even reserving half days on Saturdays and Sundays to take time to enjoy some much needed R&R, alone.
Being single vs. being single for the night
In between our time spent basking in each other’s company, I love nothing more than a girls night in – or out. After all, nothing feeds the soul more than a night of endless chatter with good friends over a bottle (or two) of good wine. When you’re in the company of friends for the night, being away from the person you love is tolerable; more than a night or two, however and the heartache kicks in.
The worst however, is on the nights when nothing is happening; you have no plans, no company, horrible weather and you’re stuck at home counting the hours pass by. Now, don’t get me wrong; once in a while, I love a night in. Watching my favourite television shows or settling down to a date with a cup of tea and a good book – there’s nothing like it. But once too often and life gets, well… boring. I don’t enjoy being alone as much anymore (I don’t even enjoy traveling alone as much anymore which shocked the hell out of me). What used to be fun “me time” becomes empty “we time” that would otherwise be spent laughing with my partner in crime! On those nights, I find myself empathizing with Robert Redford as he mourns his foregone solitude and grieves over the fact that he no longer enjoys life without the beauty of companionship, friendship and love.
As I listen to the thunder rattling the window panes and watch “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” (amazing movies) back to back, I find myself counting the hours, and wishing it was tomorrow so I could escape my solitude – pathetic right? Don’t I know it. On the flip side, I’m no dummy. I know I have 24 hours left to enjoy a clean apartment and a little bit of silence – so for now, I’ll just enjoy it while it lasts and try to re-read this post when the dishes don’t get done and there’s boys clothes littered throughout my living space. Oh yes, that’s another perk of being a wife, but that – is for another post.