Solitude. Dark roast coffee. Just a side table for my computer and I. Sound pitiful? Perhaps on the surface, but truth be told … these ingredients make up my weekly getaway to a local bookstore’s coffee shop. And I look forward to it every week!


Life gets chaotic and some days we endure things not so fun — such as my morning dental appointment today. It’s such days where I anxiously await my alone time. My 1 1/2 hours of solitude to read, write, vegetate, or drink lots of dark-roasted coffee.  It doesn’t matter what I do — it’s just my time to be.


For me, I find it helpful to make some of my solitude time away from home. That way, other household demands can’t trail along with me. The laundry hangs out in the hamper. The phone rests in the charger. The dishes remain, wherever they are whether dirty or clean. My husband and daughter do their thing. The dishes never complain and the phone is meticulous about taking messages. The clothes? I’ve never heard them scream. And my family enjoys their own routines during this time too.


For grins, I looked up the word getaway and laughed at one of the words referenced — “absent yourself.” I like that! It’s almost like telling life’s demands, “Hey, I’m sorry but I’m stepping out for a while.”


The word I like most was “retreat.” A retreat sounds like a day spent at the spa or on a tropical beach. My not-quiet-two-hour retreat doesn’t provide a spa or beach, but rejuvenation certainly shows up.


As parents, we often hold out anxiously awaiting our next vacation for rest — that is if we planned one. Such big trips are fantastic, but mini getaways contain their own treasures.


“But I don’t have time to getaway,” I hear some say. Remember the word ‘mini?’ Little escapes here and there. Small bits of time. Brief havens. It’s possible, but we need to get creative.


One friend of mine with two small children took advantage of visiting family by escaping for an hour each day to get a coffee and window shop — alone. The quick daily retreat provided the renewal she needed.


Need a few ideas for your next absent-yourself-event? Take a bath after the children go to bed to melt away the worries of the day. Sneak a book and flashlight under the covers at night — it’s a silly retreat that makes you feel young again. Wake up before your family, to a quiet house. Walk the dog to release stress robbers.


It doesn’t matter where your getaway is, just make sure it includes the opportunity to just be. So where will your next retreat be?