A few weeks ago, on a Sunday, I drove East along the A55 with the intention of stopping at one of the service stops. Once there, I went into a branch of a well-known coffee shop, and ordered a cinnamon swirl and a hot chocolate. After a few bites of the pastry, I thought that I'd take a photograph, to remind me of something important.
I realised that, the last time I had been there, I'd had company. On that occasion, the stop had punctuated a longer journey: a journey that had been, for me, all about spending time with a dear friend. As the memory came to me, I felt conflicting emotions.
Being there was an example of self-care, and I'd taken the photograph to remind me of the importance of this. These service stops, to me, feel somewhat disconnected from the rest of the world: they are visited by various people coming from here and there, going to here or there, and it's unlikely that anyone will know or care who I am. Somehow, that's important to me.
Still, the memory of being there with a friend, having one person I knew with me, and both of us being unknown to everyone else there, struck me. On one hand, I liked the solitude, the relative peace and quiet. A part of me wished that someone was sat at the table with me, though: someone I felt that connection with.
I finished the pastry and the hot chocolate, and left. I'd learned something about self-care. I'd learned that, even for an introvert, it's not always about time spent alone. Sometimes, it's about spending time with the people who make you feel that you're not alone.