Guest Author - Barbara Gibson
I’ve always loved my own company. As a girl I spent many hours alone in my room, glad for the space between me and three siblings. No racing outside for me, a good book on my window seat with its gauzy yellow cover was sheer afternoon delight.
Even today wherever I have precious time alone is, in that moment, my favorite place. I have many regular spots. Most often, my car fills the bill. Parked in a cool and shady lot it becomes not just my literal transporter but a way to transport, to move from that harried place life so often takes me.
Then there’s my office, small and often cluttered but familiar and warm. One of the plants that share the space is older than my son. Friends and family smile from pictures clustered in groups throughout the green walled room. I enjoy their unobtrusive company.
When the weather cooperates, Stone Mountain Park is perfect. Ever ready to steal a moment, I never leave home without a book, and always keep a folding chair in my trunk. Only ten minutes from home I can make an instant vacation among the trees complete with ducks on the lake.
If I can keep my son away from the door for more than 5 minutes, a hot shower makes for a few perfect moments. I make it a point to notice - the light pelting of the water, the scent and silkiness of the soap, the music, usually jazz, masking the sounds of the house, the moments. The next task doesn’t matter – yet.
Along with my regular spots I have a couple of one or two timers that I still remember fondly. I once went to a conference in Tennessee. Each day after the workshops I skipped the group fun for an evening in my hotel room with a glass of wine, a newspaper and solitude. An entire evening to myself?! Nothing at Opryland or whatever the attraction was could offer even the smallest competition next to such a rare treat. I did the same thing at a conference right in Stone Mountain. Did I feel guilty about lounging in a hotel room just ten minutes away from home and chores and one more thing to do? Not a bit.
I get to be out of sorts, edgy even, when I can’t find a way to be in my own company… alone. I need that time as much as I need any other thing essential to life. Once I spent eighty dollars to check into a hotel room for a few hours; it was just too hot to sit in my car. When the voice of reason tried to pipe in with unwanted information about compounded interest on that eighty dollars I stuck a sock in it and ordered room service, too.
Living Alone and Loving It: A Guide to Relishing the Solo Life