Giant exhales

I keep sighing big, audible sighs. Giant exhales. They happen when I bite into my food, sip my wine and sit down after walking great distances. It’s like I’m starting a yoga practice all day long. They feel so damn good, and I so very much appreciate that I am alone to enjoy them.

Brilliant, creative Candace left today to present at a conference, so I’m flying solo for a couple of days. Don’t get me wrong; I am incredibly grateful for all the time I’ve been spending with her. Our conversations have been both nourishing and inspirational. But being alone in such a vibrant city, softened by both its cruel history and its proximity to the lapping sea, is a pleasure that I am relishing with each breath. I inhale Barcelona and I exhale me.

I notice that being alone I get to take up way more space. Without a companion, my identity is less defined. I almost feel like I’m overflowing my body. There is no child, student, spouse or friend to bounce my words back to me or partake in shaping my identity. There are no one else’s feelings to consider or wants to accommodate. There is no compromising, no collaboration; there is just me. Without feedback from other people, I create no echo. My identity blurs and expands, and I feel free.

I don’t feel pulled or pushed or smothered or rushed.

I don’t feel alone or ignored or under-appreciated.

I feel neither considered nor disregarded.

I feel free.

This feeling is more foreign than the city I’m savoring.

I sometimes remind myself that I once lived alone did brave things. I lived independently in glamorous Mexico City and Midwest Madison. I remember that I backpacked solo in Costa Rica and sought adventures throughout Latin America. But this trip is different. I am not trying to find my footing in a new job, nor stay afloat in graduate school. I’m not trying to plan bus routes, see it all, or survive on a limited number of pesos. I’m not trying to prove I can do anything. In this place in space and this moment in time my goal is to just be. And I am doing it.

Take my agenda today, for example:

1) Wake in the a.m.

2) Practice yoga.

3) Visit a park.

Check. Check. and Check.

I feel so lucky I want to pinch myself.


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