I'm an introvert, and as such, I've never felt embarrassed or ashamed to be seen alone. I usually go out to dinner or happy hour by myself at least once every few weeks; it's my happy time, my time to recharge and just be.
Last week was hard, you guys. I don't need to give details, but just believe when I say that I'm not being dramatic here; it was hard. Like, maybe the hardest week I've ever experienced. Character building, I suppose? But that doesn't make it any easier.
After coffee with two of my dearest girlfriends, I realized what I needed to do for my sanity and my confidence and my marriage: I needed to get away. And I don't mean just getting dinner alone or staying with a friend or even taking a day off. I needed a vacation. I needed a personal few days.
We're lucky enough to live near Santa Barbara and visit Santa Ynez wine country quite often, so that was out. Ojai was too close. Los Angeles too crowded and too familiar. I needed somewhere that was near enough to drive in a few hours, but somewhere I could experience all on my own for the first time.
Lucky enough, the Central Coast is only a three hour drive from our little bubble, and I knew where I needed to be.
Cambria. I'm fairly certain that this little slice of California, secluded and next-to-untouched, is one of the most breathtaking and reinvigorating places in the world. At least, in my world.
I stayed at a little inn right on the beach. I drank wine on the patio, wrapped in a blanket, and wrote in my journal while listening to the waves crash. I rented a bicycle and did some wine tasting. I ate a lot of clams. I walked along the beach, taking in the chill in the air and thought about what I believed in, what would fulfill me in this life, what I need to change to be satisfied and feel good about myself.
I left with a new sense of me. Corny? Sure, but it's the truth. When you spend forty-eight hours in a beautiful place, alone, left to stew in the thoughts of right and wrong and the idea that maybe life isn't so black and white, it's impossible not to change your outlook. Things aren't fixed, really, but I have a better idea of what I need to do in order to fix me. I don't know that I'm going to feel better right away, but at least I'm on my way.