Top of agenda. Every so often one need to put themselves at the top of their priority list in order to rejuvenate.
Every time the waves hit the shore, there was a gentle humming like sound. The night was pitch black. The chirping of the crickets blended with the sound from the waves, creating a soothing rhythm only nature can bring. The fairly chilly breeze from Lake Victoria, just a few feet away, blew over my face every so often. I was sitting on a wood and cloth chair, on the veranda of a banda at Ngamba Chimpanzee Island, wrapped in a masai blanket, with my feet resting on a small table, an Olivia Pope like glass of Melot red wine in my hand.
In the darkness I could see just a bit of the lake, but I felt its overwhelming presence nonetheless.
I just stared in its direction, only occasionally looking up to the sky. The stars that night were not in a good mood, one can say, just a handful were shining. This was the night of my 30 something birthday, and I had made a deliberate choice to go away, alone.
It simply did not make sense to many when I responded ‘alone’ to the question ‘who did you go with’? No, I did not carry my children along (had to get over the guilt), I never carried a significant other either. I packed my bags and went away to an Island somewhere on Lake Victoria to do precisely this... Sit on a veranda in the middle of nowhere, with just my thoughts, nature and a good glass of wine.
Just some old me time. I had done just precisely this four years ago when I went off to Chobe Safari Lodge.
I can count these as some of the best moments I have had. Time alone is magical, everyone should try it sometime. Getting lost in a space, and reflecting on your purpose in life repairs your spirit as nothing else will. In those moments, as I pulled the blanket higher to shield myself as the night became colder, I beat myself up, then I hugged myself and fell deeper in love with myself.
The reality that you cannot lie to yourself just gives you that much needed jerk to jumpstart your life. In the evenings, as I munched on roasted groundnuts and watched the sun set over the lake, my heart skipped with joy at how beautiful life is.
I did meet some new interesting people during that weekend trip, and it was fun engaging with strangers and sharing experiences like musings over the intelligence of Chimpanzees and snapping away during the day trips around the Island.
Taking comfort in one’s own company is something we should all try. A serene environment helps to add flavour to the moment, but I guess it can happen anywhere. Go get yourself some fun alone time.
Make it a reality
•First, decide that you deserve some time to yourself each day. Stop feeling guilty for taking time out for you.
•Decide how best to spend “me” time. How each of us chooses to spend free time is as individualised as we all are.
•Evaluate the things that are wasting your time each day.
•Learn to say “no” to requests to do things that you do not really want to, do not value or do not bring you satisfaction and joy.
•Commit to a minimum of 15-20 minutes of “me” time every day. Do something (or nothing) that completely lets go of responsibilities and releases your mind, allowing you to be alone with your thoughts.
•Create a daily ritual. This can be a bath, listening to music, taking a walk or meditating. Make it something you can look forward to.
•Stop wishing you had more time to yourself, and commit to carving it into your schedule.