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WriteOut of Her Mind

by Kelly Waterhouse




24 hours

That’s how much time I had to myself: 24 hours.

All alone in a lovely hotel suite, with a balcony overlooking the Blue Mountain ski hills. Me time. Solo. In a word: wonderful.

As I’ve long suspected, I am an excellent date.

I had been invited to speak at a conference in Collingwood. A few hours of “on” time, and the rest was time to be wasted by not wasting a minute.

It was a long overdue mental health break, but I didn’t know that yet. When you are always in first gear, you forget how to shift into neutral. Before I left I coordinated the kid’s carpool, cleared my email inbox, fed the pets and got the banking squared away.

Home would survive without me for a day. Would I survive without it? I admit I was a little anxious. I had no idea how to be alone, or even how to enjoy it because I am rarely alone for any extended period of time. This is not a complaint, just an observation.

I have friends who travel regularly for business and they never seem as excited about it as I think they should be. Dinner out on the town. A hotel bed all to yourself, with clean linens and no snoring spouse. A pristine bathroom and a hot shower where you never have to stick your head out of the bathroom and yell, “don’t turn the water on!” And thick fluffy towels, tiny soaps and smelly lotions. No toothpaste goop in the sink. (Confession: I showered three times in 10 hours, just because I could).

A new place full of unfamiliar faces was exactly what I needed. This was an opportunity for me to be the version of myself I often forget to be, because I am so busy trying to be something else for everyone else (or trying not to do that, which is equally exhausting).

This me was entirely more fun, relaxed and engaging. I forgot she existed, but she was right where I left her.

When I got to my room that night, the silence was golden. I jumped on the bed, dove into the heap of pillows and landed dead centre, where I stretched out and went to sleep. Amazing.

But the next day, I admit I was a little lost. I had nobody to play with and no idea what to do. My instinct was to drive straight home. I had to force myself to waste the day. Imagine that? Slow down. Relax. Ignore the phone. Enjoy the view; my view.

So I headed to the beach, kicked off my shoes and stood in the frigid waters of Georgian Bay. That shocked me into reality. I looked out over the blue waters with the emerald green patches in shallow places and I took a deep breath. Time stood still. I stood still. This was enough. A break. A change of scenery. A reminder to be grounded. And grateful. (There was a chip truck on the way home, so yeah, that happened.)

Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery. A view of your own. A shift to neutral. Then you can get back in gear to head home.

 

 

Vol 50 Issue 25

 
 

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