Sunday, May 08, 2005

Alone time

Back when I first moved to Maine, Darren worked Tuesday through Saturday. I was finishing grad school and working a couple part-time jobs, so my schedule was typically Monday through Friday. I had a conflicted relationship with those Saturdays alone. On the one hand, I was a little lonely -- didn't really have friends of my own here, and got irritated that I ended up doing a lot of the domestic work, simply because that's my natural inclination on a Saturday morning. And it definitely limited our weekend travel options to have only one day off in common.

On the other hand, I got to spend an entire day by myself, listening to music, poking around, doing whatever I wanted. I'd often spend my afternoons on the couch, drinking a Coke and reading magazines with greasy fingers from my bowl of popcorn. By the time Darren got home, I'd be ready to chat, launch into a big cooking project or go out.

Ironically, in the early days, a lot of our fights were precipitated by too much togetherness. I was really (over-)protective of my identity as an individual, rather than just half of a couple, and I was ferocious about protecting time for myself -- even if I spent it balancing the checkbook. I'd get irritable without several hours of alone time and pick dumb arguments (the one about salsa was an all-time high point...). I made it a point to do things by myself, or even to throw him out of the apartment so I could turn up the music and just be here alone.

Several years ago, Darren's schedule switched to Monday-Friday. Then we bought the house, and spent endless weekends working on projects around here. We went through another period when we spent a lot of time in the house at the same time, but not really doing things together. So we worked on that, and have gotten a lot better about intentionally spending time together, which we do a lot now. By and large, our relationship is solid and trouble free (or, as my mom puts it, "blissfully happy").

Today, though, he had to work from 7 am to 1 pm, and I'm reminded of what a treat it is to spend several hours in silence. I haven't done anything remotely exciting -- walked the dog, bought the papers, made some oatmeal and listened to World Cafe before sitting down to alternately edit a story/screw around at the computer -- but it has been incredibly enjoyable. The music is exactly as loud as I like it, I'm spending hours at the computer without the least feeling of guilt and it's quiet. I'm looking forward to his return in a few hours... but it's been really nice to be here alone. With Darren's whiffleball/kayaking season approaching, those opportunities should be increasing... I just need to remember to take advantage of them.