My husband is going to Arkansas without me for 8 days later this month.
This is the longest he’s been gone since we’ve been together and my brain is freaking out.
This is too much time to be apart.
I can’t spend that much time with just me.
The loneliness and boredom will be unbearable.
What’s funny about this is that I leave him at home all the time when I travel for work. The difference is that I’m rarely ever the one being left behind.
So now that I’ve created this very big problem around him leaving, my brain gets to work trying to solve it.
The solution can be summed up in one sentence: This is the PERFECT time to be perfect.
Here’s a running list of some of the things my brain thinks I should be doing that week:
Eat perfectly and finally try going dairy-free.
Schedule a magical personal retreat where I go deeper than I’ve ever gone into my brain before.
Explore different neighborhoods everyday.
Meet up with amazing local people and make meaningful connections.
Volunteer somewhere, anywhere to give back.
The reason this is a great plan is because it solves for the most important thing: By being busy all week, I’ll be able outrun feeling lonely and bored.
Problem solved, right?
I can already predict what will happen if I stay on this trajectory. I will become overwhelmed by all the things I have scheduled and not do any of them.
Then I will proceed to numb out with TV and food and abandon myself completely.
The result of this is that I will reinforce the idea that I can’t be alone with myself and I will demand that Josh never goes away again. Not great.
Let’s look at this from another angle. If him leaving WASN’T a problem, what would I do instead?
I would work, spend time studying coaching, write this blog, walk the dog, eat, watch some TV and maybe explore town once or twice. I would expect that some emotions might come up for me and then I would process them.
Furthermore, if none of this was a problem, I could see my original thoughts for what they were: Thought errors. Then I could work on thinking different thoughts.
Of course I can be alone with me.
I always show up for me when he is here, this doesn’t need to be different.
This is a perfect time to practice being with myself and loving it.
The worst that can happen is a feeling and I know how to process my feelings.
It’s not that I shouldn’t do anything I have listed above, but I should like my reasons for it. Right now if I scheduled a personal retreat or volunteered, I would be doing it to avoid my emotions and I don’t like that reason.
The work for me now is to realize that none of this is a problem and that I can be with myself no matter what. I can work on my relationship with myself and examining those thoughts I have about not wanting to be alone with me.
I solve for the “problem” by realizing it’s not a problem at all, but rather a gift that I can use to help me see what’s really going on.