Just me…

My entire life I have been surrounded by people.  I have four siblings, hundreds of cousins and many friends.  I am very social and I really enjoy companionship.  My husband, Ben is many times forced to go on errands he would rather avoid so I can have someone else in the car.   I even invite him into the room while I am reading.  I like him around.

In recent years, I have gradually found that I enjoy time alone.  I am so much more comfortable with me-spending time all by myself now that I am older.  I use to think being alone meant I was lonely or unpopular.  I don’t fear being alone anymore.  I am unsure why the transition but I am going to credit it to learning to love myself.  I think age and life experience have played a role in this change also.

Doing things that makes me happy lights me up inside and out.  And, solitude is one of those things.  I am not rejecting family or friends.  I am just taking time to think deeply and disconnect from my very busy and noisy life.

Capturing time to be alone was not easy with my very active life.  I started adding solitude to my “To Do List” in the form of a bubble bath or yoga.   It really felt liberating to add something for me to my long list of laundry, grocery shopping, PTA meetings and all the other things I needed to accomplish before my head and pillow were able to reunite.

So it started, time for me. My love affair with solitude.  At first it might have been 20-30 minutes.  Then it expanded to more time for me and some times, I take an entire day. I have taken more than a couple of vacation days and not told my children.  I have spent the better part of my youth, being wracked with guilt. Not this time.  I am a better mom, friend, employee, wife when I take time for me.  I appreciate my life more.

As I was building my “50 at 50 list”.  Solitude and quiet time was included.  I am planning a road trip alone and some time at the monastery for deep thought and meditation.

The List

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.

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Day of Kindness

Yesterday, I spent the day completing random acts of kindness.  It was a wonderful day and with each act of kindness I felt empowered and confident. 

I started the day with my dear friend, Jamie Seitz.  Our love for books has bound us together as lifetime friends.  We both cleaned out bookshelves and shared some of our favorite reads with patrons of the Little Free Libraries.   If you would like to locate a Little Free Library near you, please visit their website  https://littlefreelibrary.org .   We filled 13 libraries with nearly 170 books in the pouring rain. 

I continued the days with more random acts.  I wrote anonymous letters of kindness to people who have touched my life or the lives of my children to just say thank you. 

I sat at the public library and paid a few small fines for patrons.  It was a slow day at the library and I left a note at the librarians desk with cash and asked her to please put the money toward patrons who could not use the library because of their fines.  The library is such a wonderful gift and I wanted to share it with someone who might be blocked from using the many resources that the Des Moines Public Library has to offer.

I have been saving cans and bottles for the last three months to donate to an individual who supplements their income by can collection.  I found just the person.  I drove thru the Hy-Vee parking lot.  I helped him with his cans and bottles.  He had a couple of large bags and headed toward the recycling center.  After he got inside, I went back to my car and filled up a shopping cart, moved it inside and told him to have a nice day.  He followed me out and asked, “Hey, what is this all about?”  I told him they were for him.  He smiled and thanked me. 

There are few things that I hate more than receiving a parking ticket.  My next stop was downtown.  I drove around for about twenty minutes looking for the Parking Enforcement Officers.  It was raining very hard and I never located them.  So, I walked down Locust Street filling meters for those that expired meters and ones that were close to expiring. 

My last random act of the day was to stop along the roadside and give cash to those individuals who were standing there hoping someone would stop and help.  As I handed one gentleman the money, he thanked me with tears in his eyes. 

I enjoyed this day so much.  When I retire, I am going to spend a day each month like this.  But for now, I am going to try to be kinder all the time.  There is no need to honk because the guy in front of you did not move instantly when the light changed.  There is no need to dart into a parking spot ahead of someone.  Do you really think the three minutes you saved by cutting in front of the frazzled mom of three at the grocery store is going to make a difference to you?   

It just takes such a little amount of time or money or kindness to really impact someone. Kindness matters.

The List

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.