I get ridiculously excited when I get to be in my own home all by myself. I don’t know exactly why this is. I have no desire to run around in my underwear singing “Old Time Rock n Roll” like Tom Cruise in Risky Business. Nor do I feel the need to pour a glass of wine at 11 am. I don’t really want to do anything that I can’t do when my husband and daughter are home, but I still get just as excited as a 16-year-old whose parents are going out-of-town for the weekend.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to be home alone for an entire weekend. No one to ask me where the mayonnaise is (in the refrigerator in the same spot it always is, I didn’t move it to the laundry room), no one to complain to me that her life is over because her favorite jeans weren’t washed overnight (despite the fact that they were under her bed and not in the hamper), no one to consult when I want something to eat – that in itself would be amazing. Just to eat when I get hungry and not to begin thinking about what we’re going to have for dinner before I’ve finished breakfast. Dinner could be cereal! Hmm, I don’t really like cereal – that’s beside the point, the point is it could be cereal.
I usually work from home 2 days a week but I travel the other 3. At least 3-4 days a month this travel requires an overnight stay. So it’s not as if I never have a chance to pick my own dinner without considering others tastes or never get to be the only one holding the remote, but there’s something special about being in my own home by myself that’s entirely different from a hotel. And I rarely get that opportunity.
I think one of the reasons I love the idea of being home by myself is because I can be certain of completing a thought without interruption. The other day I was working from home and the only other person here was my husband. I was on the phone so I closed the door to my office. He wanted (wanted, not needed) a file folder so he just opened the door, came in and grabbed one. My phone conversation was not ultra personal or private or anything he could not be privy to, but I completely lost my train of thought. Wouldn’t common sense tell you that if you are the only other person in the house and a door is closed it must mean for you to stay out? You would think that, but neither my daughter nor my husband see it this way. I wonder who they think I’m trying to keep out?
Here’s a typical day: My husband comes in, “Hey do you have a folder?” leaves the room and returns 1 minute later “Hey do you have some paper?” 2 minutes later, “Do you have some paperclips?” OH MY GOD GO TO THE DAMN STORE ALREADY! but instead I say, “Do you need anything else?” Him, “Nope, that’s it.” 3 minutes later, “I think I just ought to use staples.” (I’m thinking “I think I need to beat you about the head and neck with the !&#$% stapler!) But I say, “Honey, I’m really trying to work.” Him, “Well I’m not stopping you!” Me, <Heavy Sigh>
Multitasking is exhausting and I can prove it. Here’s an article from Partners in Productive Leadership that proves that “our brains are trained to focus on one thing at a time”. According to this article, when you go from one thing to another, “your brain has to load new information.” Load? Like when my computer has to load a website? Good heavens that can take a lot of time and battery power – I mean energy! So now I have proof! It really is exhausting to be around my husband and daughter!
But when I am home alone for more than an hour, I start wondering what they are doing, if they’ve had enough to eat, when are they coming back, what would they want for dinner tomorrow night, etc. I also notice that it gets terribly quiet in this big ol’ house all alone. No one needs me, and that’s a lonely feeling. As much as I love to complain about my family, and all the misery they cause me, I don’t know what in the world I would do without them. I am willing to give it a try at least once or twice a week for about an hour and a half at a time though.