WHY WE NEED TO BE ALONE
“To be young and in love in New York City.”
That’s the lyric I listened to repeatedly on my flight from California to Nashville a few months back. Something about it got me.
The freedom in what was. Back then. And knowing that I could feel it. Taste it on my tongue. Because it was a moment in time. Side note: I must be on a travel kick inside my heart because last weeks wanderlust post. Or perhaps I’ve just been momming alot lately. Hence, see below.
(I wrote this at 30,000 feet in the air, 5 months ago. It was a moment alone. All by myself. And it was pivotal for me. And it went like this.)
I don’t know what it is that gets me. Maybe the seat. Maybe the whole row to myself. Or the sun setting as we fly above the clouds. The ocean disappearing and the desert mountains moving toward us and all of a sudden the most majestic pink color is staring at you right above the right wing of the plane. My eyes fill up with tears. I say hello to my Grandma Joan. For some reason I always see her amongst the clouds. Maybe it’s because I always knew her on her own, without my Grandpa, because he died so young. And so I see her face in the distance and she’s smiling at me, holding that brown skinny cigarette in her mouth casually like it’s a Thursday. And it is. Maybe it’s because I’m all by myself. No one here but me. Not for rows and rows and rows. Just me, and the window seat. As I look back behind me the sunset is now orange and fire red and it’s the most beautiful emotional scene of beauty. I think about me. Where I am. Who I am. Who I love. What this life is right now, in this moment in time. It’s magic. And I like it.
I don’t travel alone on planes these days like I once did. I’m usually accompanied by my husband or my 3 little kids. And if so I’m usually thinking about who needs to use the bathroom or who needs a snack or who wants to sleep on mama. There isn’t a moment of silence. Of being alone with myself. Even on a holiday with the husband, I’m with the husband and I’m in his world and he’s in mine. Just as I type this I suddenly miss him and the kids and I look back behind my seat once again and the sun is literally burning the most beautiful amber color I’ve ever seen. It’s like I can see the shape of our planet and the smallness of this little life of mine. It’s mesmerizing. Emotional and raw. And reminding me of who I am right here, right now, all by myself.
I think of those of who travel often by plane or train or bus and wonder if they ever take a minute to look at the sky the way I do.
Do they feel like I feel?
In truth it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I recognize what I’m feeling and what that does to my soul.
Heavy. I know.
If you haven’t done this “aloneness” in some time, I highly recommend. And here’s why.
It’s incredibly easy to blend into a life routine. Live, love, have children. Work, raise them, work some more. Love. Hurt. Learn. Rejoice.
It’s the natural evolution of us. It’s how it is. I was speaking of this yesterday with my sister as we sipped wine in Napa amongst the most exquisite vines of grapes and the conversation carried on for days and days. I mentioned my insatiable thirst for returning to love. To self. To knowing what it feels like not amongst the crazy conveyor belt of the every changing busy lives we’re in.
She said you can’t. You’re in it now and it’s not stopping.
I look back again and I see a black sky, some city lights and a faint orange color dissipating in the distance.
Just like the sun goes down, it quickly comes again each morning and offers grace. It kindly reminds you that you will receive another day. Another chance to dream. To love. To forgive. To heal. To wander. And to wonder. And to walk slowly or fast as you see fit, into the very breath that we’re granted once again.
And I think that’s extraordinary. And moving.
This moment, this feeling, only happens once in a blue moon for me. Maybe for you too. This is why being alone, is priceless.
When I’m all by myself and my eyes and heart are both wandering into the distance of the most beautiful horizon, I’m offered a chance to recognize the very things I don’t take the time to think of while surrounded by the business of life. Like equally granting myself permission to be thankful for this blessed life without guilt, but also the open door to forgiveness. To myself. For all of it. For being hard on myself. For hurting anyone I’ve ever hurt. For not granting myself grace for the good I’m doing every day. For more. So much more.
I look back again and it’s black darkness. I just so happen to be the only one on this flight who’s got their overhead light on and I’m pretty sure the flight attendants can see the mascara running down my face. A mixture of happy, solace, and calm resides in my wet brown Asian eyes. I’m all by myself and I feel whole. Not perfect or ready to take on the world like the lady boss I plan to be again one day, but as the human being I am, that is recognized to herself amongst the music blaring in my ears and the truth I write here word for word while we drift through the night California sky.
This is why I need to be all by myself. Why we all do.
And perhaps I’m only astounded by this allure because I don’t sit here often. Because perhaps I’ve been mothering for quite a while and taking care of people is my profession of late. And when you take care of people most of your time, you forget how lavish it is to take care of just yourself. To be alone with yourself. And hear her. And hold her heart. And listen.
I think it’s worth something.
And that is why we need to be alone.
And this “all by myself” feeling, this unusual phenomenon that completely catapulted me to some kind of extreme clarity, that thing, I could definitely feel over and over again.
Long flights alone in seat 17D is the business. And I like it. Note to self.