I arrived to my hot yoga class forty-five minutes early yesterday morning.  I’d misread the holiday schedule, and showed up to find an empty parking lot and a locked studio door.  I probably could’ve gone back home, as it’s only a five minute drive each way, but I felt myself longing for some solitude.  So I stayed in my car, opened the doors, and wrote this post while wrapped in the bliss of fresh air, Summer sunshine, and a holiday Monday.

Solitude is not something I get a lot of; with a young family, busy job, and great friends, alone time is rare.  For many of you, I’m sure that’s also the case.  But, as I’m learning, solitude is something I absolutely need to be my best self.  I’d say I’m an extroverted introvert, if that’s even a thing, and what really refreshes and resets me is time alone.  I see this trait in my son as well, and cater to and protect his downtime daily.  For me, sometimes it’s just a few deep breaths and a brief moment with my thoughts before I feel regrouped and ready to tackle the next task.  Yesterday, it meant a 75-minute yoga class and a half hour in my quiet car.  I needed it yesterday.  I could feel it, I was craving it.

I’d met up with a dear friend of mine the night before, for a movie and then a walk, and we talked about exactly this: alone time and self-discovery and reflection.  She’s very good at self-improvement and introspection, and I always look to her lead in those areas.  Her recent discovery is that of a 24-hour solo retreat; that is, 24 hours away from home, alone.  No to-do lists or timelines or schedules or expectations.  This “solo retreat” is a foreign concept to me, something I hadn’t considered, and something I’ve never done in the 7.5 years that I’ve been a parent.  She certainly piqued my interest.

My husband and I had a similar conversation awhile ago, regarding my need for a daily dose of solitude.  “That’s one of the things I love about running,” I told him, “it gives me alone time to think.”  To think, and breathe, and dream.  My 24-hour retreat would involve lots of sleep, lots of writing, lots of food, and lots of running.

What would yours look like?


A Happy Life

I’m still trying to figure out the nuances of me.  I know that sounds strange.

But in fact, just the other day, I discovered that I can focus much better in complete silence.  It’s not that I didn’t already know this about myself; after all, I spent eight years of post-Secondary education in quiet libraries, but I’ve just recently learned to articulate this fact.  No wonder my study days in Mt. Pleasant’s Second Cup required earplugs.  How unusual that I never noticed this quiet=focus effect on myself.

I’m emotional.  I’m sensitive.  I see colours when I read words, especially people’s names.  I am a homebody.  I love to travel, often, but for short periods of time.  I have a semi-photographic memory, especially for the written word.  I am interested in real estate and architecture.  I have a spatial mind.  I communicate best through writing.  I only like camping if someone else is doing the work.  I love yoga and spirituality and self-reflection.  I need fresh air and an elevated heart rate daily.

These are all revelations that I’ve had in my adult life.  I’m 36 years old and I’m still figuring out me.  And the reason I’m telling you this?

  1. My blog is an extension of my professional self.  The doctor-patient relationship is built on trust and this outlet is how you can get to know me. (This is Me.)
  2. These revelations have affected my parenting, and hey, I like to write about parenting.

How has it affected my parenting, you ask?  Well, thank you for asking, you’re playing along nicely.  You see, as a teen I often overheard people talk about “figuring out who they are” and I didn’t quite understand what that meant.  I heard people talk about “figuring out who they are” at University, “figuring out who they are” through travel, “figuring out who they are” through sport.  I did all of those things, and yet I still couldn’t define myself, my role, my reason.  These revelations seem to have come to me later in life than most of my peers, or perhaps I’m just late in learning the vocabulary associated with soul-searching and self-contemplation.

As such, lately I’ve been talking to my children about “who they are.”  We’ve been chatting about things they like, things they don’t, things that are/aren’t important to them, and their hopes and dreams.  I’ve been trying to give them the verbiage of introspection, to open up their childhood minds to the language of what characterizes them, and makes them proud to be unique and special.  To be themselves, whomever those selves may be.

For now, my job is to give them opportunities to learn.  I see each exposure to something new as a chance for personal growth.  That’s why we spend our Summers traipsing around Southern Ontario and our Winters at every event within an hour’s drive.  We go to see monster trucks and rodeos and conservation areas and waterfalls and baseball games and theatres and ceramic studios and Teen Tour Band concerts and beaches and outdoor rinks.  We show them the world and try to help them figure out their role in this wonderful community of life.

I posted this on my Facebook Page a few days ago: “I really think a happy life is about balancing all of your favourite things.  Lower the stressors you have control over and prioritize the things that you love.”  And how are they to know the things that they love if I don’t give them the tools to discover that?

“Happiness results from the possession or attainment of what one considers good.”

And it seems to me that if you figure out your good, you will figure out your happy.