If you have not seen not one episode of This is Us, that is okay. It is not a show for everyone. However, if you are a person who: has child(ren), has ups and down with your significant other, want to have an identity, choose to work outside of home, choose to support the family and stay at home, had a difficult upbringing, takes care of parent(s), takes care of sibling(s), is simply a person that feels they are alone in this world, watch episode 16 and 17 of This is Us. You too will reevaluate your life and decide if you will need to have 24 hours to yourself.
There was a lot of reevaluating in these last few episodes but more importantly, the Season Finale. I have to disclose that, I say it’s a recap, but really it’s a personal view of Beth. If you didn’t know, I’m a full-time working woman in a long term committed relationship with a man and we have a child. We both also have siblings that we somewhat assisted in raising and our parents are up there in age, with ailments. If anyone understands Beth from these points of view, we do. More importantly, I do and maybe you do too.
I originally started this post with the idea that it was more about traveling and getting away and having big fun, but then I watched these episodes where Beth felt she had to lie to her family, just to get a few hours of alone time. And I felt her pain. Lord knows, I enjoy being entertained by my family and going to work and taking care of whatever needs to be done for my mother and her household, however for the past three years, I have been excited to go away for extended weekends with my friends and not having to worry about none of that! Beth was in a place where she just wanted to have a bed to herself, her favorite snacks to eat by herself, and watch her favorite reruns of classic comedy shows from the 90’s. But, when she ran into Randall, her husband and his father in the grocery store, she was caught, had to explain herself, somehow got guilt tripped all through the aisle to where she was going to give that all up and return back home to her family and not have her alone time.
YOU, man or woman…we need alone time and you shouldn’t feel guilty about that.
The first time I went away without my family, I kinda felt guilty because, how could a mother go away for her own birthday without her family. But then as I departed the plane, I was no longer anywhere near New York. I removed the mom hat, the sister hat, the daughter hat, the employee hat, the take care of it because you can hat and just had me time fun. If I wanted to sleep in - for real, I did. If I wanted to try a meal that I never tried before, I could because I was on vacation and there are no budget or leftovers in vacation time (I try to do all -inclusive for this reason).
There’s no decision being made of what activity to do because everyone wants to do something more than the other. There is no reason to worry about children being entertained, eating, sleeping, being watched all day because they are not there. It’s not like I was gone for weeks at a time. The longest trip I took was from a Thursday to Wednesday - almost a whole week. Maybe that was pushing it a bit far. I tend to stick to Thursday to Monday length of time. I can justify in my head being away for an extended weekend for once a year to just be me with no responsibilities. Far enough away, unless someone has died, I’m not changing my flight, I’ll be home on Tuesday. Seriously. I barely take out my phone because, what is the point of going away if you’ll just talk to everyone all day where you are? A few calls, 1. I’m here safely. 2. Goodnight… Child(ren) is safe. Parent(s) is alive. All will resume when I return in a few days. Camera on my wrist. Phone in the room safe.
When Beth explained herself to her husband, who at first thought she was doing some shady shit, I felt her words as she explained her need to be by herself for just a day. Shoot, and here I was saying I needed three to four. When she was younger, all she wanted to do was dance but she just wasn’t good enough to get a lead so she fell back. Went along with her grieving mother’s suggestion and went off to college to pursue a career in finance. She then met Randall at that same college. Their lives intertwined, they graduated, started careers, got married and had some babies. At no point in that path did Beth decide to resume her passion for dance or anything else for that matter. Twenty years later, there is regret.
When I watched that episode, I said to myself, damn. How many Beths are out here in these streets? Regretting this and regretting that because they choose to live a life they felt was meant for them at the time. Now for more than some, life takes a toll and uncontrollable circumstances stand in our way of what we truly wanted to do, so we sacrifice our wants and focus on what we need to do. I learned after my mom became sick, that I didn’t want to always do what I needed to do. She did that and became a young disabled mother and grandmother, not able to fully babysit her grandchildren or be as annoying as Rebecca was to Kate in the season finale.
So I took a selfish approach and said sure, I’ll go on that trip to anywhere that will allow me to breathe for a little bit while all my responsibilities were left to someone else to worry on for a few days. It was and will continue to be my open door reference to how Beth and Randall found a way to co-exist with their wants and not sacrifice their need to be together as a happy family.
If at anytime you feel you need 24 hours to yourself, you don’t have to be as dramatic as me and travel out of the country. Look for a local hotel on Groupon and stay there for just a weekend. It’ll be nerve wrecking at first, but trust me, you’ll enjoy yourself and your body will appreciate it.