I'm the only person in the whole entire world that didn't go away for a late-fall/dead-of-winter/early-Spring tropical sunny vacation.
OK, maybe not the whole world.
But I'm sure I am the only person who has the paste-y white, not-tanned, anemic-looking skin of an almost dead person, in my Facebook world.
A good portion (all) (Ok, maybe 90%) of my married friends have gone away at least once, most twice, in the past 6 months of this never-ending winter. I'm happy for them. First, that they are married. And second, that they are enjoying this stage of life with their husbands.
This blog post is for anyone who might be wondering what Spring Break looks like for single/divorced women over 40 (OK, over 50) ...
Pine trees are just as lovely as Palm trees if you adjust your attitude a smidge.
When I noticed that I needed a break, (my mom saying, "You sound bitter" was a red flag moment) I checked my schedule at work and saw a 4 day window of opportunity to stay away from the office where no one would miss the Project Manager.
In BC the students have two week Spring Breaks (Mar 12 - 26), so my little get-away would take place during the tail end of the second week. HOWEVER, just knowing that I was taking some time off, it was easy to get myself in the holiday mood, while I was still going to the office every day. So even though I was working, I was gearing up (in my heart and soul) for my staycation five days before I actually had time off.
So. first bit of advice for singles out there:
1. Do something fun, something that nourishes your creative spirit, something that is colourful and pretty and in your hometown ...if you can't get to Hawaii or Palm Springs. Get into holiday mode early.
Thurs March 16 was the day we went to Michaels and Winners and Fort Langley in the evening. I touched craft supplies, appreciated soap wrap art, walked outside, breathed fresh air, took some pics and talked with a friend. I didn't allow myself to worry or overthink, or wonder or obsess. Staying in/totally appreciating the moment, goes a long way to capturing that vacation feeling.
I worked on Friday Mar 17 planning project deadlines into June, and shuffling some current issues over to someone who could manage them in my absence. And then It. Was. The. Weekend. Not exactly the start of my vacation, but close enough. This was the night of The Art Show. So many people and conversations and art and rain and connections and goodness.
As per usual, I slept in on Sat Mar 18, did some laundry, made some arrangements and appointments, paid some bills, then went to church. Hahaha. Last Saturday's message was on Singleness. This week was all about Divorce. (According to scripture/the sermon, I'm cleared to marry again. The circumstances of my divorce have freed me from that vow, and should any man every want to, it's OK for me to give er another try. He would not be committing adultery if he takes a chance on me.) (And now we all have Abba in our head.)
After church, I had supper at the White Spot:
Her: Your name?
Me: Jane. Just me.
Her: How many?
Me: One. Just me.
Her: By yourself? Just one?
A few minutes later:
A different her: Have you given us your name?
Me: Yes, Jane.
Her: Jane? For one?
Her: Just one?
A few minutes later:
Me, stepping forward and nodding: Hi.
HER: JANE, PARTY OF ONE?
HER: JANE? YOU'RE THE PARTY OF ONE?
Me, to myself: I'm not sure that couple in the back corner heard, maybe she could announce it louder.
A few minutes later:
Waitress: Can I get you anything to drink while you wait?
Me: It's just me. And ice water would be great.
Waitress: Just you? By yourself?
Me: Uh huh.
Waitress: Ok, then I'll clear away these other settings...
There is no sermon on earth that will ever convince me that being single is awesome.
Anyway, determined to be in vacation mode, I had a leisurely dinner while I read my book.
PROTIP Numero Deux:
2. Be prepared when you're dating yourself. Bring props and toys.
Dinner out by one's self takes some courage. But it was easy because I had a fantastic book along, so once I got into it, I really didn't care what people were thinking. I had been looking forward to sitting in a well-lit booth, with the hum of restaurant noises around me, good food in front of me and The Count for company.
The first time's the hardest. After that, it gets easier with every outing. I do this about once a month, and love it every single time. (Again, it helps that I've had some really good books to keep me company.)
When I got home at 10, I moved the wet clothes into the dryer then moved the lighting around in the living room and made a comfy spot to continue reading. (I was on a bit of a deadline; I needed to be finished by Monday night, for bookclub.)
A few minutes later:
Mom, sauntering in to living room: Whatcha doin?
Mom: What book?
Me: A Gentleman in Moscow
Mom: What's it about?
Me: A Count in 1922 is sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life. His house is the Metropol Hotel.
Mom: Is it any good?
Me: I love it.
Mom: I think I should read it. Can I borrow it?
Me: Uh huh. I need it for book club, and then it's yours.
And then Drew and Danica get home. (They're living in the basement again; their months of housesitting ended a few weeks ago.) (Other than the odd day when we're in the kitchen making our suppers at the same time, our paths don't cross very often in this house. I spend my evenings out with friends and/or on the third floor in my bedroom, and they hang out downstairs.
They don't head downstairs this time tho. They'd been to see Beauty and the Beast, then out to do some bridal shower shopping. Dani needed to wrap some gifts and Drew was hungry for his (late night) supper.
So while he waited for his wings to warm up, and she wrapped shower gifts, we talked about the gay moment in B + B (there isn't one), Disney princesses, (so many that I, mom-of-sons, never saw, including Belle), church sermons, the housing market, post secondary education, extended families, children...
Drew: Not sure why anyone would have kids
Me: For this. This is why we have pregnancies that de-shape us, babies that don't sleep, children who leave messes, teens that rebel:
Me: This, right here, right now is the best thing ever. You might be too young to appreciate it. But this? Is everything.
We talked til 2:30 am.
Danica: It feels like I'm on a holiday. That my real life hasn't started yet. It seems all vacationy living here.
Which was just the loveliest thing to hear.
And inspired me to, from this day forward, make an effort to have a home, that when others visit, feel refreshed, like they've been on a vacation when they leave.
Sunday Mar 18? Also a semi-vacation day.
Danica invited me to another one of Maddy's showers - this time at their salon.
So much youth and energy and affection.
I left there feeling decidedly not youthful. Haha.
I went to the beach.
To read my book.
In the sun.
On a bench.
Like I was on a holiday.
I sat on one of those benches for two hours with my book, camera and bottle of water.
And it was glorious.
Which brings me to Singles Advice Part 3.
3. If you're an introvert, make sure you're getting enough 'alone time'. Schedule or squeeze it in. You need it, like you need air. Sleeping does not equal 'alone time'. You need to be awake, by yourself, just reflecting and thinking and planning.
I had worked all day Thursday, with people, and was out Thursday night, with a friend.
I worked on Friday, with people, and was out on Friday night, with many peoples.
For me, Saturday is alone time. I look forward to a day of solitude then an evening where I am lost in a sea of strangers at church.
(WHICH I KNOW. THIS IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT CHURCH SHOULD BE.)
Sunday afternoon was the bridal shower with two people I knew and many others I didn't. Which is energizing for extroverts. Exhausting for introverts.
So going to the beach, by myself? Was exactly perfect. But I realize this isn't for everyone. So if you're single, and an extrovert, and going to the beach by yourself sounds like pure torture - invite a friend. There are millions of women who'd love to be invited to go for a walk along the beach.
And then it was Monday and I went back to work.