I've just returned from a business trip to Paris. The last time I was on a business trip - a four-day whirlwind a few weeks ago in Frankfurt, Madrid and Paris - I was accompanied by a colleague. This time I was alone.
My colleague in our Paris office apologised for not being able to join me for dinner on my first night because she had to get home to her two year old and five year old children. I laughed and said, "Of course, I do not mind. I'm a mother and wife also and I cherish my time alone." She responded with a knowing chuckle and said, "Oh yes, I know exactly what you mean," and she instantly felt less guilty.
You see, wandering the Paris streets alone last night and this afternoon after my meeting with a French client, I felt so at peace. All day long I am engaged in conversation - with my colleagues at work, with my daughter (mutual babbling!) before her bedtime and then with my husband when he returns home. It is bliss having many hours ahead of me being silent, eating alone, getting lost in city streets, thinking many thoughts or none.
Simply being silent. Every working woman, mother and wife should do this regularly.