I have always valued a little alone time. I certainly prefer spending time with my family, but I believe that a little me-time is needed from time to time. In the past I had spent a lot of time by myself, which has made me quite comfortable with doing things on my own. I have gone on three solo road trips across the country. I met some people on the road and in National Parks, but by in large I was on my own. I went to restaurants by myself and camped out alone in my tent. Once in a rare while I got lonely, but for the most part I loved the freedom of being able to do what I wanted when I wanted. For the record, I also went on two road trips out west with a good friend and two more with my wife, so I’m no hermit.
Now that I’m a family man alone time is a little harder to come by. Like I said earlier, I love spending time with my family more than anything, but I do find that a little me-time is good for the soul. Heck, I think everyone needs time to themselves on occasion. Even my young children seem to crave it once in a while. Noah demands “Peace and quiet” sometimes and will go and sit somewhere quietly. He will watch TV by himself or play in the playroom alone sometimes and seem totally content. Charlotte will do the same, but probably to a lesser extent at this age. Both of our children like to watch silly YouTube videos on our phones, too. It’s probably not the best thing to let them do, but it can calm them down when they are tired or cranky and it gives us a chance to watch something besides cartoons on TV.
Ashley definitely gets less time to herself than I do. I would guess that she doesn’t value it as much as I do, though. She goes to bed early and wakes up very early, even on the weekends. She’ll often wake up an hour or so before me and the kids on the weekend and will go downstairs and relax in the living room with her coffee for a bit. Besides for that and time in her car on her commute to and from work (when we’re not carpooling) she has very little time to herself.
Then there’s me. I try to fit some me-time in everyday, usually at the end of the day. I typically have a little time to myself after I wake up. I spend most of that time preparing lunches to bring to work and making breakfast. Sometimes I’ll grab lunch by myself or go for a long walk on my lunch break. It gives me a chance to relax and take a break from thinking about work for a little while.
The majority of my alone time comes after everyone else falls asleep. Usually around 8 p.m. Ashley and I will bring the kids upstairs to get ready for bed. Then the four of us will lie in our bed together and wind down for a little while. After a little bit Charlotte will give Noah and I hugs and kisses and then Ashley will put her in her crib for the night. A little while after that Noah and Ashley fall asleep. It’s anyone’s guess as to who will fall asleep first; they’re both usually asleep around 9 p.m. Then, after the rest of my family is asleep I head back downstairs. I’ll turn on the TV, play with our dog Noelle, read, maybe have a beer or even do a little exercising. After an hour or two I head back upstairs and go to bed. I like having that time to myself before I go to sleep, though. It gives me a chance to unwind and relax (and watch the TV shows that no one else likes).
I think that everyone needs some me-time. We all vary on how much alone time we actually need and want. Some people hate being alone and are on the phone or have the TV on anytime no one’s around. I, on the other hand, relish having a little time to myself. Having that quiet, tranquil time to reflect and think about things can be just what I need.