This week has been a trying time for our family. A few things have gone on that made me want to throw my hands up, running away while screaming “leave me alone, please.” We will get through it all, in fact at this moment things are calming down. Or at least are starting to. But it got me to thinking, sometimes you just need a break.
I have never been one to be hard on myself. In fact, the reason why I get behind on things, and am so unorganized (at times, with some things) is due to the fact that I do, in fact, give myself a break. I have never, ever felt guilty for taking time to do things for me.
The first time I remember an instance of this was the first year I had worked (babysitting) and was buying Christmas presents. Aside from a few very close friends for whom I would buy token gifts, the only three people I had to get presents for were my Mother, Father and sister. I included myself in that group. I think that just about every year since then I have gotten myself something I wanted. It was never anything very expensive or elaborate. Many times it was just a small item, but it was something just for me. Something that to others may have seemed silly, but to me was relevant and important.
Hockey has always been important to me. I have lived and died for teams over the years. Everyone who knew or knows me is aware of this. And for that reason, I have never felt guilty if I decided not to go out if asked on the afternoon or night of an important game. Of course, if it was an important event – I would never not attend. I am not that extreme. But if asked to go out on the spur of the moment – say for pizza and drinks – and if there was a good game on, I would politely decline. Usually I would suggest another time. No one has ever gotten mad (that I know of) so I’m all good with my decisions. No guilt.
Even with my children, I gave myself a break. I let them watch many of the shows they enjoyed, and they had video tapes (VHS on a VCR, I am dating and aging myself here) that played all the time. However, I had television shows I enjoyed as well. And when it was time for those programs to begin, the tapes got removed and/or the channel got changed. My choices and wants were important. Of course, I was home raising them and they came first. I never felt guilty about watching what I wanted. They simply played while I watched. I didn’t sit on the couch staring at the screen, not interacting with them. I was usually on the floor with them near me, and we’d be playing with…whatever. In fact, as my son Kevin was learning to talk he used to call two characters on the play phones that came with their play workbench and kitchen – he “spoke” to Palmer Cortlandt and Jackson Montgomery from All My Children every day!
Now as I am an about-to-be fifty-six year old woman, I still take care of myself. I have been on and off “not well” since around Thanksgiving. That combined with the reality of aging has to some extent altered how I do things. If I have five errands to do and I am not sure I will get through them all, I’ll do the most important two or three first. This way if I don’t feel like finishing the rest, they can wait for another day. I might clear the table, and put the dishes in the sink. But at this point, I may not feel like doing anything else. I’ll rinse them somewhat and then come back to them later. The same with laundry – I might bring it all down, sort it and get one load done. I may not feel like folding it once dry, and if that’s how I feel – I don’t do it. It can wait until later. Or tomorrow. The only exception is if what’s in there will wrinkle. Doing that causes more work than it’s worth. I may pick up and straighten some rooms, but if the desire to keep going with vacuuming has left me – you guess it, it can wait. And it usually does.
I see too many people I know pushing themselves past whatever their limit is. That is fine some of the time. It really is. I do believe, however that my mental, physical and spiritual well-being is just as important as “getting things done.”
Who agrees with me?