I’m the sort of person who needs a lot of “me” time. While some people get their inner strength from being around others, I’ve always been the sort who recharges with some solitary time to think.
So when I was signed up for a work conference this week that would keep me away from home for a night, I figured it would be good for me. It would be time to relax and appreciate some very rare silence. I imagined how I would finally have time to write down some thoughts I had neglected to put words to lately. I would come home feeling refreshed and fulfilled.
I spent the whole day in workshop session after session, walking all over creation in too-new high heels that left my feet screaming by the afternoon. (Why are resort hallways SO long?)
When I finally had time to peek in on my hotel room to refresh myself before the cocktail hour, I glanced around and was struck by something. The sheer quiet of my room. It was so very, very quiet.
When I go away with Mike, he has a very set routine. We enter the room, we comment how nice it is, and then he grabs the remote and turns on the TV. Within a matter of 3 minutes, he has located every station we might possibly want to watch over the next two days.
I roll my eyes at him as ESPN or CNN blasts through the room.
If Ryan is with us, he speed-walks across the room, analyzing every piece of furniture before clinging to my legs to beg for his latest desire (goldfish or crackers, in most cases).
I had none of that today. I had only silence.
This will be so good for me, I thought.
This will re-energize me, I thought.
This feels empty, I thought.
I think a lot about how parenting drains me. How on some days, the constant whining and the begging and the demands are overwhelming. Every meal requires four (or seven) trips to the refrigerator. More milk, more banana, more napkins, more more more.
Some days, I answer the same question upwards of 30 times, always with the same answer. (“No, you don’t have to go night-nights yet. That comes later. No night-nights. I promise. Stop worrying.”)
I often go to bed feeling like every ounce of energy has been given to someone or something else: to Ryan, to work, to cleaning the house, to side projects.
But that hotel room? Dang, it was empty.
I wished someone were there to turn on that TV. I wished someone needed my help with something. I wished I weren’t alone.
Perspective is a funny thing.
P.S. I was sitting in the hotel lobby as I wrote most of this. (Turns out, expensive conference hotel rooms don’t necessarily come with free WiFi.) A random guy walked past and said, “Don’t work too hard!” Apparently, I look very serious while I’m blogging.