LoveHubbie's family members, D & J, were such nice guests and we had a good time. Everything with the house and me was fine and of course no one cared how either looked! What was particularly significant about this visit was that both my husband and his brother have had serious health issues in the past few years, as well as some family misunderstandings, so it was a time of healing, and a time of knowing that they don't have forever to be with each other or to work things out. It was wonderful, intense, and I learned something very important.
What I learned had nothing to do with my lovely guests but all with me. I am always anxious that everyone feel comfortable and have interaction and a good time, so I minimize or eliminate time for the things that I need that are very anti-social (reading, quiet time, silence, internet, blogging, contemplative walking, sleep, thinking, processing) or, in the words of Karen in a comment here, "I'm not consciously choosing actions that will let me be me." This is due to my consciously choosing things that involve being hospitable to other people and entertaining them, but in the process I feel like I lose myself...even in just 4 days. I would never have believed that my identity was so fragile and tenuous, but apparently it is. When I put myself into enjoyable situations of interaction that go on for days I suffer, and I end up losing my way. Many people (like our guests) thrive on this, and even gain energy and well being from it, but I'm not one of those people.
I wonder if this is age or depression or if it's just my personality. I know that in the future I need to do things differently, but I really don't know how. At the time I feel as though I want to be with my company, especially since it could be years until I see them again; or as we advance in age, I may never see them again. I thought I'd be more resilient. But I guess I just have to accept that this time I was not.
LoveHubbie wasn't resilient either, though, and he is a real extrovert. He is still making up for lost sleep he volunteered to skip in order to have an enjoyable time. His health is rather precarious, so it is not a minor thing when he does this.
A good friend of mine is coming to visit in mid-August, but she is older, and I can keep my various appointments, keep my life going, and she will probably rest, read, enjoy the garden, and not want to be on the go or sightseeing and eating formal meals all the time. With her it might be easier to practice consciously choosing things that help me be me---but these are things she likes to do too---so I will still be being hospitable.
We live. We learn. We change.
~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark