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Better Together With Time Apart

Song Lyric of the Day:

To realize the hand of life is reaching out / To rid me of my pride, I call allegiance to myself

half•alive / “still feel.

No, this is not a post announcing a separation. Lately, though, Rich and I have been working to give each other solo time. For years now, I’ve complained that even though he’s promised I’d get alone/quiet time to write and do non-household-related things, it’s almost never happened for one reason or another, whether through my own fault or his. So to shut me up and make me happy, he recently said we needed to make a point to prioritize solo time and finally make it happen.

For the last several weekends, I’ve grabbed my laptop and a book and headed out for a solo lunch, followed by writing time. So far I’ve only gone to local Paneras, which is where I wrote this post. That way I can kill two birds with one stone: I can eat lunch while I read a bit, then enjoy using their free Wi-Fi to help me do book research and update my blog. Also, I’m not a coffee drinker, so I’m not sure I’ll ever head to a local cafe to write unless it has a decent lunch menu. (If any locals are reading this, I’d love to get recommendations on local haunts with free Wi-Fi.) Eventually I’ll go somewhere different for a change of pace. I might hit Lawson McGhee Library downtown as it’s the only library branch open on Sundays, which is usually the day I get to pop out for solo time as we’re typically running errands and doing house projects on Saturdays.

I recently found this list on The Write Life of places to write outside the home, and it has some great ideas. For instance, I never would have thought to hit a museum to get some writing done. I like the public park idea, but given that the weather here is all over the place lately, that’s probably not in the cards for me — I really don’t need to catch a cold right now. I love the idea of a coworking space, but (1) it could be cost-prohibitive and (2) I haven’t heard anything through the grapevine about the ones that exist here in Knoxville. Again, maybe a local can share what they know about these spaces.

As for places in/around the house to work, that’s where things get tricky. Sebastian is an avowed mama’s boy, and trying to shake that kid off my trail is not easy. Our house is a good size, but have you ever tried to hide from a toddler? They’re basically smaller, more committed, more relentless bloodhounds. They won’t rest until they’ve hunted you down. I could simply close the door to my home office, but Sebastian — who has freakish strength for an almost-2-year-old — would just bang on the door until he either knocked it off the hinges or I cracked and let him in. You remember how the leper pirates knocked on doors in The Fog? That’s pretty much Sebastian’s knocking style.

I could turn on the heat lamp on chilly days and hang out on our screened-in porch as long as the curtains stay closed. Or I could hole up in the guest room downstairs; I’m pretty sure Sebastian wouldn’t think to look for me there. Then again, the dogs might give me away, too: “She’s in there, kid. Now get us a treat as a thank you.”

I’m really enjoying my new solo time, and have to thank Rich again — in writing — for making sure I get it. (In case you were curious, his solo time is usually gaming nights with buddies.) You know those couples who have no problem working together, living together, and spending all their free time together? Those couple who seem to never argue or get on each others’ nerves? Yeah. That’s not us. Rich is my best friend, but that doesn’t mean I need or want to spend 24/7 with him, and I know he feels the same way. We both think some alone time is healthy for our relationship. It’s also critical for our sanity. Time apart is making us better together since we’re now both getting dedicated time to decompress and just do what WE want to do, even if for a few hours a week.

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