Girl’s Night…In

April 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm (Uncategorized)

I had a rare opportunity a few nights ago. I was alone. On my own. With Jay out of town for work, and Andrew off on a sleep-over, I had a night—and time—to myself.

I dropped Andrew off at his martial arts class around five. I wasn’t feeling tremendously well. Although I seem to be—ever so slowly—shaking free from my latest flare-up of neurosarcoidosis—getting through anything resembling a “normal” day leaves me exhausted and in pain.

I spent half the drive home wondering if left-over pizza with carrot sticks on the side constituted a “healthy” dinner for Andrew and how the hell I was going to make it through the day’s remaining hours and tasks. Then I remembered that my dear friend Martha was picking Andrew up from his class, and bringing him back to her house for a sleepover with her daughter, who also happens to be one of his best friends.

That realization was intense and beautiful. A night to myself – I was almost giddy. It was a “Let my People Go” kind of moment. It was rife with possibility. I blasted the radio as I turned onto my street. If only I had a George Michael CD with me (“Freedom, freedom…” – work with me here, people, I’m a child of the ‘80s). It would have been perfect.

As I parked the car in the driveway, a thousand options for this night alone raced through my brain. I could meet a friend for a glass of wine, or go out for a glass of wine on my own. There were movies to see. I could venture to a theater, or—for once—control Netflix in my house. I could take a book out onto the deck and enjoy one of the year’s first warm evenings. I could crack open my book project, which has been languishing for months. I could call an old friend and catch up. I could write gloomy poetry in my journal.

And then, as I turned off the car and hauled myself to my front door, I could feel every bone in my body sighing with tiredness. My head was throbbing. All those possible activities for the evening felt like tiny weights, pulling down my body and my spirit. I would have to make myself do any of those “fun” things. This didn’t feel all that freeing, after all.

If all of this had happened four or five years ago, I would have forced myself out to “enjoy” my evening alone, inflicting a night of mandatory fun on myself. It would have left me more tired and sicker feeling. But damn it, I would have fun, even if it killed me. Back then I was still trying to keep up with memories of my twenty-year old self, who liked to do tequila shots and dance all night long—and then sweat out the hangover by hiking twenty miles the next day, or my thirty -year old self, who could work twelve hours a day, spend an hour at the gym, and then dash home to make some gourmet-ish meal. Letting myself change felt like conceding crucial territory to the disease. I didn’t like change. Rather than ease into a new role as mother—and a mother with some health problems—I kept flagellating myself for not being healthy or energetic enough for the old stuff, and especially for not wanting the old stuff.

Maybe there is something to that adage about getting older and wiser because this night, I didn’t even seriously consider making myself go do something. Instead, I paused for a moment or two after I crossed the threshold into my silent and welcoming house. How did I want to spend this night alone? Well, I wanted to be alone. I didn’t want to ring up an old friend or meet up with anyone. I wanted to be home. I wanted to care for my tired, hurting body. I do spend a lot of time at home stuck in bed, but I could happily change things up and lounge in the living room.

I settled on the perfect plan for my evening. I dined on a big bowl of my favorite cereal. I sat in the cushiest recliner in the living room, and watched the evening descend on our backyard. Both cats settled on my lap. We shared the silence and the coming twilight. It was lovely. At 7:45, I went to bed. I had no responsibilities. I didn’t need to keep up my end of a conversation. I didn’t need to be anything other than the tired—and thankful—40-year old woman that I am.

What’s your ideal night alone?


  1. Allyson said,

    I am also 40, and though I don’t have a chronic disease, that sounds like exactly what I would do if I had a an evening of solitude! There’s a quote I saw in a book about Buddhism for mothers: Time is too precious to waste; do nothing!

  2. Elaine Smothers said,

    YAY, for nights alone! I love them too – snuggling with the furbabies, reading a good book, listening to music on my iPod. And I’m a child of the 80’s too! … well, early 80’s! HA! 😀

  3. Barbara Barnes said,

    Ahh… I really really loved, REALLY loved the comparison you made to awhile back and what you did. So nourishing to hear when a friend meets her true and immediate needs and gets so much back. So much of an improvement on “trying”.

    I occasionally have a Saturday night to myself. I usually read or watch a movie, have a good red wine, a good home cooked meal that only I would want or MacKenzie River nachos with soy cheese (do not mock or judge), and I spread out psychically… through the whole house… all mine, all quiet, all not needing. And sometimes (although this usually takes a few nights in a row) I remember Me.. and how much I like me.

    Glad you enjoyed.

  4. Ellen Gregory said,

    I live alone, so it’s not such a novelty for me 😛 But I too dine on breakfast cereal sometimes!

  5. Marianne said,

    This sounds wonderful! The only thing I would’ve added is take out!

  6. Nancy said,

    Sounds like a perfect night – You got to CHOOSE this gift, a welcome change. Thinking good thoughts your way. n

  7. Patricia Caviglia said,

    It’s not my ideal night, but I’ve done the early to bed too.

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