I spent the early part of Father’s Day feeling sorry for myself. My plan for the day was a music lesson at 11 am, followed by a BBQ for my father in the afternoon and evening. My wife and son had offered to take me to breakfast. At 10 am, no one was up. Feeling like I was not a priority and neglected, I decided just to head out on my own and do my thing.
But as I left, something started to change in my little head…I began to shift my focus from “poor me” to “lucky me.” And the weight of that little ego trip immediately started to lift and I felt…relieved.
For the last several years, we have been fortunate to have the opportunity to rent a friend’s cottage during the winter months while she is away. It’s a cozy little spot, only about 90 minutes drive from home. In the summer, the lake is packed. Nice, but in the fall, winter, and spring there are only a handful of people. That’s when the magic really happens.
For a number of reasons, this will likely be a very short cottage season for us. But I have just arrived, and as always, I feel so very grateful to be here. The cottage has always been a very powerful draw for me. My wife and son enjoy it as well, but not the way I do. I am thrilled to come up here for a week or two at a time when I can, on my own. Perhaps too thrilled.
I think this is the 5th or 6th season for us, but it is only just starting dawn on me why I love it here. My time is my own. I can spend it however I wish. I am not responsible, or feel responsible for anyone else. I cook nutritious meals, and enjoy doing it. I read for hours on end. I write. I think. I listen to music. I sing. I meditate, sometimes twice a day! Back to basics at the cottage. I am able to just be.
At home, I am distracted by the endless list of things that have to get done, that I am responsible for, and I sometimes neglect myself. And it can make me resentful. There I said it.
At the cottage, I can just take care of myself, heal, rejuvenate. Peace, quiet, free of static and distraction. Life moves at a much slower and richer pace here.
Ironic isn’t it that I have saved and planned and sacrificed to create a home, yet I need to get away from it to get centred and in touch with my flow?
I suppose I have always appreciated my time alone, ever since I can remember. Always a bit of a loner. Always somewhat of an introvert, although many aspects of my life might indicate otherwise. Some people need others to recharge. Not me. I am someone who needs to turn inward. And I need the separation and quiet to do it.
I am not complaining. I have a very good life, and I’m surrounded by incredible and loving people. I am very, very fortunate. But time alone at the cottage gives me the space and perspective to truly appreciate it (and I know that this is a troubling paradox…save this one for another day).
But I also realize that ultimately I must learn to find this stillness wherever I am. That will take some work.