It Saved My Life

We were living in a house at the top of a hill.

From the window in the baby’s room you could see the whole of the city on a rare bright day. And at night sometimes you could see the lights stretch away to forever.

lonely

The baby was unsettled, waking every 2 hours. We were exhausted. We didn’t go out much, never quite comfortable with a babysitter and my mom was busy that night. It was New Year’s Eve.

Truth is, we didn’t really have anywhere to go anyway. And we’d had an argument that day. We watched a bad movie and at 11.45pm he was fast asleep on the coach.

I went up to the baby’s room and as midnight struck, I watched the fireworks go off right across the city.

Tears streaming down my face.

I wondered when I had started feeling so isolated, so alone. I mean I loved my husband and my baby and we’d made a great life together. And yet, I still felt so separate.

Where had those days disappeared with so many friends, always a party to go to, a conversation to explore, an adventure around the corner.

And on top of it all, I felt pathetic, so weak. Crying over fireworks on New Year’s Eve, please. Such a cliche.

In that moment, I would never have imagined what was coming…

In truth, it took a very long time for me to understand how and why I could be lonely and sad while living the life I had always dreamed of with the partner I chose and loved and the child (and later children!) I adored.

And yet, now I know that I was not alone. That so many people become isolated in the hectic and busy life that parenthood demands, or the career aspirations that devour your time and often your soul.

It took me years to realize that I needed to take care of my needs or even to understand what my needs were.

So what are you doing to find and fill your needs? Here are some questions and suggestions that have literally saved my life!

  1. Do you have regular, scheduled time with friends? It might just be a cup of coffee or a phone call – make sure that you nurturing those relationships even if you don’t get to see each other very often.
  2. Do you have an exercise routine? Physical movement is proven to lift your spirits and keep your body and mind healthy. Find something you enjoy doing and make sure you do it! Swim, run, dance, it doesn’t matter but don’t make winter the excuse to stay wrapped up in a blanket on the couch! Moving your body is the very best way to keep warm!
  3. Date night – YES, make it a scheduled commitment – it won’t happen if you don’t! Hire a babysitter, dog-sitter, house-sitter, whatever you need just make sure you make time for him/her and make it special, dress up and get excited – bring back the romance!
  4. Reach out to someone who is alone. Whether it’s a family member or a friend, a neighbor or someone in need. Cook a meal for someone who would appreciate a pot of soup, or just make the time to make that call and show interest and concern for someone who needs to hear it.

I know none of this is new for you. And maybe you’re already doing it. For me, it’s a reminder to open my heart, be more kind and generous to others.

It’s what stops me from being alone.

What about you?

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