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A night away

As a parent, you’re frequently told to take time for self-care. There’s a reason for it: it is legitimately important, but it’s really, really hard to do. I value my sense of self and identity beyond my children, but I still put them before me. They are totally dependent upon us for everything, and I love them to pieces!

That said, the pandemic has put a real strain on me. I don’t have the help around the house I expected. I’m no longer traveling for work. I barely get time alone. As much as I love my kids, I am an introvert, and time alone is tremendously important to my well-being.

So I recently decided to take a couple days off from work and go to a nearby resort for a night, all by myself.

Due to some weird behavior with the car I was planning on taking, I ended up going with MJ’s 2000 Oldsmobile Alero on this little trip. The resort was just 30 minutes from home, so it wasn’t far, but it actually ended up being a really pleasant bonding experience for that old car and me. I have driven the car many times before, and it’s very similar to the Pontiac I owned before I moved here to California, so it was a car I was comfortable with. Still, getting it gassed up, a car wash, and then a lovely journey out to Livermore was nice.

It was weird to be driving a car without any cameras, or any of the other fancy features that cars have today. I’m happy to say that I still know how to drive without all that, and it’s still a fun car to drive. I’m now taking it out regularly, and I’ve already joked with MJ that it will be the “old car” that Adam and I fix up some day as a hobby project when he’s a teenager.

But on to my trip! I got some cookies and stopped for lunch, and at 1PM I arrived at the resort for an early check-in. I spent the first couple hours just being lazy around the suite I booked, a glorious indulgence I hadn’t had the opportunity for in ages.

In the late afternoon I explored the grounds, spent some time by the pool.

They had a complementary “wine and snacks” tray, that I had around 5PM. I skipped the wine because I wanted a sober time away, but I did have a soda, which I hadn’t had in a long time. That evening, I grabbed some take-out sushi and enjoyed a book in the rose garden.

The choice of book was somewhat amusing. I had been meaning to read Colossus since I picked up the trilogy last year, but my to-read list is quite long. Still, I decided this night away was a nice opportunity to finally dig into it. I didn’t realize that I’d be reading it just a couple miles away from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, home to one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, and which is run by the US government. Now, the Sierra supercomputer is a good computer and couldn’t have the plot trajectory that Colossus had, but it was still an amusing coincidence.

I spent the rest of the evening reading and catching up on watching TV, something I haven’t been able to spend much time doing. I brought along my Nintendo Switch, my personal laptop, and some other little crafty things, but they stayed packed away in my bag, maybe next time. I was able to go to sleep blissfully early, and woke up to an enjoyable breakfast on the patio.

Before my checkout at 11AM, I spent more time reading and did one more visit to the hot tub.

In all, a beautiful time away that allowed me to unwind a bit and sleep responsibility-free for a night, which is precisely what I needed.

I still have to work on the day to day things that will help me feel balanced and recharged. I no longer have the luxury of time that I did when we were child-free so I’ve had to pause and learn what activities inspire and recharge me, and what ones feed into my feelings of being drained or unhappy. I owe it to myself, but I also owe it to my kids to make sure I’m as happy and healthy as I can be.