Thursday, July 09, 2009

Alone Time

I live alone. I've lived alone for quite a while now; since I finished grad school (which is longer than most normal people have non-partner "roommates," I suppose). I'm set in my ways.

To go with another Cary Grant analogy, I'm Father Goose (but with less gin). (Because, of course, single women don't really exist in movies except as the object of male desire. And also, except, I sure hope I don't end up married with a bunch of kids... though Leslie Caron was lovely.)

The thing is, in my normal life, I get a lot of alone time. That would drive some people nuts, but it makes me pretty happy. I ponder and think, read, and so forth. I plot to take over the world with Shakespeare and bikes, but not much has come of it (perhaps I need a Pinky sidekick?).

With my Mom and niece here, I basically get alone time when I'm in the bathroom or when everyone else is in bed. But I want time to read and ponder, so I don't want to go to bed. And then I'd be tired in the morning, and be slow getting up, which would frustrate my Mom, and blah blah.

I need to figure out a way to get some alone time. I'd also like some bike time. Bike time counts as alone time, unless I'm riding with someone. But it would frustrate my Mom no end if I took off for an hour or two on my bike. Trust me on this.


  1. I know, lack of alone time flips me out too. I just need it. When I'm somewhere for the weekend or something visiting, I just have to close the door and sit sometimes.

  2. Is there any hope of sending mom on an errand or four? Most moms want to be helpful -- maybe you could say that you have e-mail backing up on you and that you'd really appreciate it if she'd do X, Y and Z...

  3. Oh, I sympathize. I need tons of alone time and recovery time after seeing people and having house guests is very hard. I hope you manage to get a little bit more time on your own!

  4. doesn't grandma want some "special time" with your niece? catch a movie, go to the mall, whatever?

  5. I have huge alone time requirements. Having a demanding job where I rarely get a few minutes to myself without interruption, and now, in the summer having both spouse and child home from college, the evenings can seem rather crowded and stiffling. Being alone is restorative and if it means that I have to take a long bath with the door locked knowing that they won't disturb me, then that's what I do (although that's more desparate a measure than I usually need to take).

    I think kathy a's idea is a good one - find something Mom can do with neice to get yourself some time. Tell her you must do some work while they go off on their own adventure. Invent one of those awful committee meetings that you have to go to. Then, head somewhere -- your office, a park, coffee shop, or long bike ride -- and do your "work", e.g., your alone time. You'll feel better and probably have better time with them afterwards.

  6. Funny how living alone all these years has conditioned me to want my alone time, too. I love having my niece here - she is not intrusive in the least - but she's a body in the house, and I'm not used to that anymore! I'm wondering how I'll fare over the next few days with 3 more people in the house... Good luck finding your much-needed space!

  7. I have never been able to have a roommate after moving out of my parents' house because I just can't stand not having an adequate amount of alone time. Then, I met my husband, and when we started living together, my need for alone time really hurt his feelings. But we've been together for ten years now, and he knows that if I don't get enough alone time, then he's not going to get enough together time. So he compromises, and everyone is happy.

    With visitors, it's really different, obviously. This is why, to me, visitors for three days is fine. Longer than that and I want to kick them out. Even my sister - my favorite family member - got on my nerves when she was here for eight days. I made her and her boyfriend (who came with her) go to San Francisco by themselves one day and then to Napa by themselves the next day. It worked out.

    My sympathies are with you! Good luck!

  8. iPod?

    It works with my mom, but then she's used to me putting on my earbuds and retreating into my computer for hours at a time.

    You might need to get them young for this to work.

  9. I wanna be your Pinky! (What are we gonna do tomorrow, Brain?)

    I so hear you on the alone time... I´m super lucky in that we get to spend several weeks with my in-laws in Madrid every summer, and I know people just want to kick me if I ever complain about that. But we´re four people in a tiny apartment, and two of them (my father-in-law and sister-in-law) actively dislike being alone and are fully bored with each other, so they both hang on us pretty much all day long. For two months. I´m grateful that we all get along well enough for this to be possible, but really, by this point I´m ready to kill all of us.

  10. Just Pam6:40 PM

    I've always contended that the most interesting people are the ones who need the most solitude (and by extension, quiet). I've never related well to people who have a real need to be plugged in, constantly communicating, always around someone else. However, I can totally respect someone who is comfortable with themselves and their thoughts enough to enjoy and even need time alone. I kind of worry that when I finally get to move up to be with my fiance, I'm going to start feeling a bit smothered...guess we'll have to deal with that when it comes.