I was sitting for dinner with a friend this week who had recently been on holiday with a girlfriend of hers. The pictures had made the trip look idyllic, one that delivered serenity and refreshment. However it was clear from the facial expression that promptly arose after my question regarding the success of her holiday, that told a very different story. The trip had been surprisingly un-relaxing despite the stunning location, only being in the company of one other, and the trip being planned in an effort to escape the stresses of home life. She went on to tell me about her holiday partner’s incessant need to talk, ensuring she filled those very natural silences that occur during meals, or when sunbathing by the pool, with inane and unnecessary chatter.
She wanted to be able to enjoy a meal, gazing at the picture postcard surroundings when she looked up from her plate, without her brain being taxed or bored by challenging or trivial conversation. We deduced that they were either on very different wavelength about how they enjoy a holiday, or that her friend is someone who finds quiet time rather uncomfortable. The time she wanted to spend eyes closed, marinating herself in suntan oil and sweat, was also interrupted by conversation that needed her input and thought, as did the moments she wanted to absorb herself into a new world via a book.
It got me thinking about our recent holiday, which was far from the tranquil and reconnecting getaway I’d envisioned. The reasons behind that I’ll tackle more in depth in a post soon, however there were a few moments during our tense trip where I found solace in some alone time.
During a tense day I picked up my camera, slid on my flip flops, which had become torture devices thanks to all the embedded flint and pebbles, and went for a solo adventure. Yes, I did find myself mulling over and dissecting the things that were stressing me out, but I soon found myself distracted by the present, the now. Thanks to my camera, my focus was on the vivid and lush trees and plants, the butterfly that was feasting on the snow coloured plant, the epic mountain landscape that was backdropping all of the forefront foliage.
For a few moments I really had escaped, and with only the noise of insects and lapping water as a soundtrack. These moments are some of my most treasured and valuable, from my trip. Even though the holiday as a whole hadn’t been the restorative trip I’d hoped, needed or yearned for, these moments I’m sure repaired some of stress damage of the last few months.
Recently in my relationship the concept of alone time has also frequently arose in discussions about how to resolve our couples stress. I think because we are apart from a large chunk of the year we always felt that it was important, and right, that we should spend all our time together during the small amounts of time Si is around and not touring the country, or the world. However, this always leads to a level of over saturation. We are in each others pockets so much, we not only never get the opportunity to crave each other again, we also don’t get time to form thoughts or work through things without the other asking ‘What you thinking about?’ ‘Why are you so quiet? “Are you in a mood with me?”……and so on. I…in fact, we, have decided that it’s healthy for us to have some time apart, even if we are residing in the same building or location. For instance last night, Si slinked away to have an hour or so to play Fifa on the Playstation. When I feel the compulsion I may got out and take some pictures, or watch a TV show I know he’s not interested in. These periods of separation mean that when we unite again we may have cooled down if we were feeling the blood boiling with frustration perhaps, or had time to formulate the best way of saying something we feel needs to be talked about….or simply just had some enjoyable solo chill time.
My Dad’s 70 now so he no longer heads to the golf course for his escape and relative quiet (his normal house sounds being absent, not sound altogether). The last year or so he has been tucking himself away in the office two or three times today to learn Italian. He says it’s so he can use it during his trip to Florence (which my parents are currently on), but I think it’s far more than that. I think he’s found his avenue for zoning out and escaping. I don’t really understand how it works, he talks into a microphone to this computer system that tests him on phrases, verbs, adjectives and so on. Okay, so the fact that he now finds any excuse to drop in an Italian word, even if there is no logical reason to use it in place of the english word or phrase, maybe be a tad annoying (I’m being very polite here), but I am glad he’s found a way to block us out for a small period a day, because I know how very important it is.
My mum will often tell us she’s going to read the paper upstairs. She’ll lie on the bed and read through the contents of the Daily Mail (yes, I know) and return to us a few hours later. And we never disturb her, unless we really have to. That’s her time.
While I think we’re all trying to do the right thing in seeking out these alone times, I do think we could be furthering this and squeezing even more benefits out of them. I know I feel I got most out of the instances when I was without technological accompaniment – the times my phone was hidden away, or forced to be neglected when it’s battery run out. I felt my most relaxed when lying on my sun lounger, in silence, just tuning into the sound of the water. It’s when everything else is shut off, or shut down, that you can hear you, and your thoughts and inner workings at full volume, or equally find the power inside you to bat the thoughts that deal with the past away.
So whether you need to rely on the use of an app to ease you into this state of serenity during your allocated quiet alone time, or perhaps some hypnotic sounds, I think it’s very important we not only find opportunities to reset and reflect on our own, that we try and do so in the most effective and powerful way….without the distractions of Netflix, Instagram or Whatsapp.
If we don’t give ourselves these muted moments how can we ensure we are using the information we’ve gathered through our day to move forward in a positive manner. It’s only in these times of reflection we can realise where we went wrong, as well as we went right, and forge a happy path for the future.
We all make excuses that we don’t have time, or that we’re too busy, but theres always something you could swap out in exchange for this time for nourishing the soul. I know I sound like a hippy…but hippy’s were happy right?
The kind people at Zaful sent me over some bikini’s for me to wear on holiday. This one is ribbed in a khaki olive colour, and extremely comfortable.
When I first put it on I was a little shocked at how teeny tiny the bottoms are, they are probably the skimpiest I’ve ever worn and required that I be a little more dedicated to my grooming. I say a little more dedicated, it was just a case of me actually doing it for once!
Once I got used to the sparse nature of this bikini it I felt very comfortable in though because it fitted well and hoiked up anything need some anti gravity magic.
I also found that Olive was a nice alternative to black, it was less harsh on the skin and actually looked great against tanned skin. You can also pretend your some kind of bad ass GI Jane character too.
Anyways, that’s enough from me for today. Please leave your thought of the topic of this blog, or the bikini if you wish (but be kind, I ain’t no model).