(For the past three years, I’ve used Reverb10 prompts for every day of December. It’s a great way to reflect on the year and set goals for the future. I’ve kept my favorite prompts, added a few from other sources, and created my own month of questions.)
Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year?
This past summer my husband went away for a week long backpacking trip with his oldest and dearest guy friends. It was to an area in Yosemite that got no cell service (obviously) and so we would not be able to talks to each other for a week. That’s the longest we have gone without speaking in about fifteen years. Also, I was on summer break from my job, and so had the time completely off. While I was going to miss talking to my husband, I was looking forward to the week a great deal. I am an introvert, and the idea of a whole week without having to go anywhere and talk to anyone sounded like its own kind of vacation. He had a great time, and we are planning to go on the same hike together this upcoming summer if we get a spot. I did not fair so well. I have this idea that I am really this terribly organized and efficient person who simply can’t do all the things she wants because I live with another person, have to go to work, etc… I have always over romanticized the idea of living alone … Likely because I never actually have.
At the end of the week I had frittered away my time on crafts specifically designed to keep my mind off loneliness, gotten some sort of flu, and watched an entire season of American Horror Story so I’d had nightmares. I had not eaten well, despite my intentions to try a juice fast or going gluten free for a week or some such nonsense. I was a mess. He may have returned dirty and exhausted having confronted the beauty of nature, but I picked him up a significantly more humble person. I am not an island. It’s time to stop pretending I would be better on my own. I might dislike a lot of my social obligations, but they are necessary. It has changed how I approach making plans with friends in the recent months. I feel the pull of my internal introverted couch-dweller, but I tell her that she will have to wait. And she will be better for it.
P.S. In 2011 I wrote this.