I have been so busy with my move, learning my new job, enrolling the kids in school, making new friends, trying out yoga studios, dating and being a tourist in my new city of Boston that I haven’t had a single moment to myself to think or write. Yesterday was my first day of alone time in which I really didn’t have any major projects to accomplish. Damn, was it scary. I felt completely lost, and, frankly, very lonely and homesick for Northampton. However, as all difficult moments are for me, it ended up being a good opportunity to reflect upon how I handle the occasional pang of loneliness and sadness.
Many divorcees write to me about how hard the transition into part-time custody is for them. Not only do we miss our kids, but we also don’t always know how to have time off for ourselves. It’s a foreign concept for most working parents who go at break neck speed all day (and night) long. It can be very disorienting to have unstructured time to yourself.
When I was living in Northampton, most of my free time was taken by yoga classes followed by nights out with friends. Even if I didn’t have a social engagement, I always knew the cafes and bars that I could go to when I wanted to see people, and usually I would end up running into a friend and having a good time. I don’t have places like that yet in Boston so here are the following activities that I did to fill my time and feel better. Maybe some of them will resonate with you.
1) Pamper yourself. I decided to give myself a much-needed pedicure, and I also bought a new hair dryer. Sometimes we are too busy to really even focus on our looks, and it feels good to primp and preen a little bit.
2) Catch up on house projects. I mowed the lawn yesterday when I was feeling restless. It was something that I needed to get done, and the activity and the fresh air lifted my spirits.
3) Go grocery shopping. I have noticed in the past that there are often attractive men in the Whole Foods market. Last night I went shopping around 7 pm, and the store was teeming with eligible bachelors (because who else shops on a Saturday evening?). Several guys gave me smiles and prolonged eye contact. It totally boosted my mood. If I had been really brave, I might have struck up a conversation with one of them in the produce aisle or something.
4) Call a friend who will make you laugh. I have so many people that I love to talk to on the phone and often don’t have enough time to really catch up with them. Last night I called my sister, and she told me a story that had me in hysterics (as my sister often does). The endorphin rush from the laughter really helped. And that happened right before the guys smiled at me in Whole Foods. Maybe I was glowing from that.
5) Read a good book. I tried to watch a movie on television but it just depressed me even more. I probably picked a bad one (it was called “A Single Man”). So I picked up my book instead, The Bastard on the Couch. It is a fascinating and often funny collection of essays by men reflecting on the difficulties of relationships and fatherhood. It made me chuckle, and it also gave me some great food for thought.
So yes, I do get blue sometimes. Maybe these tips will come in handy if you find yourself alone and at a loss for what to do. And if you have any of your own, I’d love to hear them.