Alone Isn’t Such a Bad Thing
When my kids visit their grandparents I usually end up working a ton of hours.
Sometimes, though, end up doing things, either for myself or for work. This week is one such example. I’ve been attending a conference and I went alone.
That’s when I get the question: don’t you hate doing (insert event, meal, etc. here) alone?”
Well, sometimes, yes. But I spent my day like I hadn’t in a very long time. I walked along the beach, just me, watching and listening to the waves as they crashed on the shore.
I sat in the tulip garden near the Dutch Windmill near the shore. Must have spent an hour or more there, smelling the flowers’ perfume as it wafted into the foggy bay air. I called my kids while sitting there and they were all jealous. “A giant windmill?! That’s cool!”
I had a greasy, insanely delicious burger at one of the best little corner cafes in California. Yes. I called it one of the best because, frankly, it is. I ate it alone. I enjoyed it.
For dinner I ruined my diet even more and had fish and chips overlooking the beach. Was it hard? Well, no. I had a beer. I chuckled at how, like a scene out of Seinfeld, the woman at the table next to me grilled the waiter about the chicken on the menu.
“Is it free-range?”
“I can check, ma’am.”
“Because you know about all those hormones, right?”
“The hormones ma’am?”
“Yeah…they’re carcinogens, you know. I don’t want to get the cancer from those hormones.”
I’d say this was some tourist, but she got into a California car. She went on and on about how using a torch on the top of creme brulee was going to be bad and turns the sugar into . . . yes . . . another carcinogen. It must have seemed a blessing to the poor guy when I ordered, ate, and thanked him for the beer recommendation.
The thing is, much as I truly do miss the kids, I work, I play, and I do things I wouldn’t normally do when they’re around. It’s not that I feel like they are holding me from doing them. It’s that I am the only opinion that matters in these times.
I grabbed a baguette, some cheese, and a bottle of water at a Safeway and went back to the beach. The fog was too thick to see the sunset. I didn’t mind. I watched a beautiful woman run like a girl with her dog down the water line. I stayed out until the beach was dark, completely obscured by fog. I loved every minute of it.
So no . . . I don’t hate my time alone. I absolutely miss my kids. I miss my whole family.
As I started to walk back I had a few moments to think about my wife. We walked along the beach once when we were oh so young. I smiled a lot thinking about her. It made me smile.
But I made my own memories. Sometimes the best ones are the ones we experience all by ourselves.