One week of solitude and my epic fail at freedom

Meredith Cummings
7 min readJun 4, 2024
Credit: Sol Vazquez Cantero

This essay is now available to listen to if, like me, you’re best at absorbing content while you walk, run or drive, or if you are visually impaired.

My daughter recently drove 15 hours from our house in Pennsylvania to our home state of Alabama to visit family and friends. Before she left I thought to myself, “This will be a great opportunity to go out on the town and get my youth back!”

A parent of any age can relate to not feeling that you have time to yourself or the ability to take a moment to be selfish. Even though she is 22, Isabel still lives with me and while we have our own jobs and lives, I don’t have my own space. As she put it on her way out the door for her trip, “Now you can finally dance around the house naked.”

I’m pretty sure that’s the opposite of what I did. I didn’t deviate from my regular routine. I was disappointed in myself.

I realized that even on days when I did want to go out and do something fun at night, I didn’t really have anyone to do that with. I have friends at work and friends-by-proximity in my neighborhood but they are all younger than me, with young children, or single and dating or busy.

If I called and said, “Hey guys, let’s go to a bar and stay out all night” I’m pretty sure they would have said, “With you?”



Meredith Cummings

Muppety. Freelance journalist, Teaching Assistant Journalism Professor at Lehigh University, Essayist, Book reviewer