So it's been over a month.
It's been a good month. Better than most of the ones I can remember in a while. I got to do the stuff I really like - walking in the woods (temperate forest without too much undergrowth, not like the cancerous tropical jungle we have in Singapore), breathing in cool mountain air, seeing life from a step back, reading, thinking.
Sometimes it gets too much in the trenches. Too many lives clamouring to be attended to; too many things I could have done better because hey, it just might make a difference in that kid's life. And sometimes I wonder who's going to make the difference in mine. I wonder when it's my turn to receive some kindness and patience and encouragement.
I get it from an old lady who speaks barely a word of English, who lives in the mountains tending the household while her farmer husband goes out to work the fields and feed the fish. It comes in the form of a cheap plastic umbrella which costs a fraction of what I'm paying her for room and board. It means a lot because it was raining and she could just about make out that I was going on a hike without an umbrella. (Hey, I did think it was the start of summer already in Japan.)
This is why I go on holiday. To see humanity as a guest. In Singapore I am always the host. In school I am The Surrogate for whatever the people around me aren't getting, whether it's students who need (parental) guidance or Worry Women who just need someone to listen to them. Maybe this is why we all go on holiday.
Anyway I am recharged. I have had my fill of Alonetime, and am now ready to face the world with a smile again. And while I do look forward to the next long period of Alonetime, I am also keen to engage in the affairs of Man once more.
For more information on the concept of Alonetime and introversion in general, please do the web-literate thing and search. For Introverts and Introversion. "Alonetime" will also yield some interesting results. The old term is "Solitude", which has the right connotations as well, but "Alonetime" is a more modern term, an updated version, if you like. And I was using it before I discovered its existence in other texts.
Yes I am geeking out on words. C'est moi. Or as my dear friend TYM just said today while I was wondering why pincers were not called pinchers, "That's why you were a gifted kid."
The solitude I get on my solo holidays is breathtaking, far more than the scenery. And in that solitude I rediscover myself - who I am, what I believe, where I am going. Though I feel time slipping away more acutely these days, I also feel a sense of purpose yet to be accomplished. My time has not yet come. And I will know it when it does.
It is well with my soul. Blessings to all who have stood by me (or just stood by) these past months. I know what I need to recover well enough. And I am back.