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I’ve learned a lot about being a military spouse over the past year, but the lesson that I just keep having to learn, is how to enjoy solitude.
I’m an introvert, so in some sense this comes naturally, but I really just don’t enjoy being home alone. This is especially true when I know I’ll be home alone for several weeks at a time. And being home alone in a new house, in a new city, far away from all your family and friends only adds to that dread. To combat this, I’ve created a list of 10 things to do when I’m home alone. Hopefully some of these things will resonate with you and help you get through those deployments, trainings or business trips.
1. Order Chinese food.
Or Indian. Or Italian. Or Mexican. Or whatever cuisine your significant other NEVER wants. For me it’s Chinese, but pick your poison. I think this is the one thing I genuinely look forward to before my husband leaves for the field. Don’t judge.
Along with ordering my beloved Chinese food, I also like cooking all my favorite foods that my husband is not the biggest fan of. Namely mushrooms. They’re just really good, ya’ll.
2. Park in the middle of the garage.
I guess this one only applies if your husbands car leaves town with him, but that’s typically the case for me, so it makes my list. We have a small, 2-car garage. On a normal day I have to park very carefully – far enough from his side of the garage, but far enough for me to be able to open my door without hitting the wall. This is such a random, insignificant thing, but it’s honestly so nice to pull into the garage without fear of hitting the wall or not leaving enough space for the other car. It’s such a great feeling to pull into the driveway and park however your car happens to align. But maybe that’s just me.
3. Catch up on your favorite TV show or podcast.
If you’re like me, you have different taste in media than your s/o. One thing I always enjoy doing when I have the house to myself is catch up on all of my favorite podcasts that my husband is not a big fan of. This can also be applied to your favorite TV shows – Great British Baking Show anyone?
4.Watch chick flicks. As many as you want.
I love having sole possession of the remote control. I have a taste in movies that is rather, well, feminine, so it’s great to have a few days (or weeks) when I can watch all of those girly movies that my husband has been vetoing. Musicals, Rom Coms, Disney – you name it, I love it. If I have to be home alone, I might as well fill my time with things that I alone love to do.
5. Have a girls night in.
While you’re catching up on all those girly movies and shows, why not invite some other girls over for a good old fashioned slumber party? You can play board games, watch a movie, make brownies, you know, all those things you used to do before you grew up and got married and had a husband to think about. Now is the perfect time to catch up on some girl time. Or you can always…
6. Invite friends and family to visit you!
Being a military family, we are currently living pretty far from both of our homes. But that makes our new home feel very exotic to our friends and family back home. And you’d be surprised how excited people are to visit a new place. I was pretty open about inviting friends to come visit me before I moved, but didn’t expect so many people to take me up on that offer. But the last time my husband was away for training, I had several friends come to visit and keep me company. It was a great opportunity to do some of the touristy things I hadn’t had a chance to do since moving. It was also a fun experience getting to take some of my favorite people to my favorite new places and play tour guide in my new city.
If having a friend visit isn’t an option you can…
7. Call a friend.
When you are home alone is a great time to catch up on life with a friend you haven’t talked to lately. Many of my friends work normal people jobs, so the times they are usually free are also the times that my husband is home, so I hesitate to have long, lingering phone conversations during that time. It’s also really nice to talk to someone who can cheer you up after a few days of solitude.
8. Sing as loud as you want.
Sometimes when I’m home alone, I just can’t stand for the house to be quiet. I begin to hear all those creaky house noises and wind howling – you all know what I mean. And while I do watch TV, listen to podcasts and play music on spotify, sometimes I just need to make some noise. So I sing. Sometimes I sing along to a musical soundtrack or a favorite album. But the best way I can make the time pass is by playing piano and singing. More often than not I’m playing through my hymnal, or playing chords to a popular worship song.
The best remedy I’ve found for a lonely, empty house is to fill it with the sound of praise. And while I could just listen to worship artists on spotify, it’s just not the same as belting out my own rendition – loudly, proudly and unashamedly making my joyful noise.
9. Read a book.
I used to read all the time. And while I still read some, I always have a long reading list that I’ve been wanting to get to at some point in the future. Well, the future is now. And what better time to get engrossed in a book then when you have oodles of time to yourself. I always enjoy a chance to sit down and plow through a book, but even if you’re not usually a reader, I’d challenge you to try it out next time you have some time to yourself. (If you need some reading inspo you can check out some of my personal favorites here.)
10. Make something.
And while you’re expanding your mind, why not do some arts and crafts? Whether you are a painter, crocheter, seamstress or scrapbooker, you can use this time to be creative and productive. Even if you don’t have a crafty hobby, I suggest trying something new. I’m sure you’ve all saved some crafty Pinterest projects that you’ve never actually done. This is a great chance to try out something new. You might find something you love doing. And if not, you’ve at least done something other than stare at a computer screen for a while, and that counts for something.
These are all just a few small things I do to make the time my husband I spend apart more bearable, and while most of these aren’t big exciting things, military life isn’t only about the big stuff (like deployments) it’s mostly about the little stuff (like having the garage to myself).