I thought I was planning a trip to a seminar in Florida. However, the seminar is much shorter than I thought, so I have much more time for me.

At first I felt this wave of guilt, because I was now basically on a vacation by myself. As with many other single parents, thoughts of how I should be spending this time with my children and dealing with other responsibilities filled my mind.

Instead of booking an earlier flight home or calling the kids and apologizing, I decided to take this time for me. This would be alone time for me to reflect, and decide what is working and not working in my life and business. This time would also be to read some books I have wanted to read and explore new areas without everyone else putting in their two cents.

Taking the time to go away by ourselves gives us time to reflect, look inside and enjoy who we are as people.

This morning I wrote out a pro and con list concerning aspects in my business that haven’t shown results yet. I placed the list on a table, and every time I passed by I would write a pro or a con.This evening I have a good idea of where I think that situation needs to go — what I need to change, what I like, and what the real issue is. This list, if you are honest, makes everything very clear.

Next I wrote out where I want to be as a person, a parent, a partner, and as a business owner for the next five years. This gives me something to visualize and work towards or become. Tonight I am even going to collect pictures for a visualization board to keep these new goals or aims fresh in my sight all the time.

I am enjoying my time with me. Walking the beach, reading, enjoying the sun, meeting people, visiting sites or stores, and meeting more people, and watching nature allows me to enjoy the little things others don’t notice because they are dealing with all the responsibilities of children and older parents. I am enjoying every part of me.

What I am really enjoying is watching the interaction of other parents with their children or simply the children themselves. They are amazing. No matter what age, they are always watching, responding to, or reaching out to their parents. Teenagers of either gender are pulled between trying to be the person their parents want them to be and who they know inside they are becoming. This observation makes me look at my three boys and what am I observing or projecting on them.

I have resolved to be more aware of how I respond to them as people, and careful of my actions towards them — to have more patience. I will have more respect for their views and will make time to discuss more issues, ideas, and situations we all view. Most of all, I will refrain from always thinking my way is the only way and open myself to possibilities they offer to me. I will have respect for the people they are becoming.

A parent can get lost in the forest of their kids’ activities, friends, and events and lose the perspective of looking from above and see the clear path of where they need to go. Stepping back and watching others sometimes can give you that clear view on yourself and your own family.

While having lunch I sat beside a woman in her fifties with parents in their eighties and teenage children. She was trying to get her parents to be involved in doing things and going places. What were they interested in? Where did they want to go? She wanted so much to get them to feel involved, but instead was creating more of a gap. It wasn’t until she left the table, exasperated and tired, that the older couple began to smile and talk to the kids.

I found this very interesting, so I immediately called my mom. We have had our own miscommunications and disagreements as she gets older and closes herself off more. This phone call was going to be different. Instead of telling my mother she is out of touch or needs to get out more, I decided to ask about her and stop and really listen. We ended up having the best conversation we have had in six months. Both of us laughed, and I even learned a few things about how she sees life in general. I wasn’t drained after the phone call and, by the sound of her laughter, she felt good too.

Most of all, I am finding that this time I mistakenly found for myself allows me to grow, reevaluate, and relax with serenity. It takes courage to do everything by yourself or at least that’s what people have told me. I am here to tell you, no one cares or is watching if you happen to eat a meal in a restaurant or see a movie by yourself.

Bring a book, or make a dream/focus list, take out your phone and look up pictures for your visualization board. Who cares what others think? Half the time they are jealous they aren’t able to be by themselves. Just a little something to think about: maybe it is you who is judging you. Relax and use the time for you.

Even Jesus would take the time to go out into the desert by himself to be with himself and his God. It helped him to be a better leader. Don’t we need to do the same in our lives?

So get rid of the guilt and the “I’m too busy”attitude and book a vacation for yourself alone! Two or three days should do it. I am sure that your kids, your parents, your lover, and your friends will thank you for it!

Light and Love always!