All my life I have tried to please people; my parents, my husband, my children, my friends, my employers, everyone except myself. I have always felt guilty doing things for myself; I would much rather help someone than do something to please myself. But as I rapidly approach a half century old, I have come to realize there is something wrong with my logic of doing for others. If I don’t take care of myself, then I may not be around to help when I am needed most.
So for the past year, I have given myself permission to do something just for myself at least once a day. I could help everyone I wanted, but I had to do something just for me. Some of my “guilty pleasures” include:
- Watching an episode (or two) of Dark Shadows, a soap opera that ran on television from 1966 – 1971. I have the entire collection, including the pre-Barnabas years, and I like to lose myself into lives of the Collins family. (For information, just Google Dark Shadows.)
- Watching All My Children every afternoon. This is the only current soap opera I keep up with; Erica Kane rules!
- Reading a book. My current book list includes: The Mulberry Tree by Jude Deveraux, The Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, and the graphic novel Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter #9 by Laurell K. Hamilton and Marvel Comics.
- Digging in the dirt … I mean, working in the garden. It is almost therapeutic to be in the garden pulling weeds or planting seeds; plus it is great exercise.
- Writing a short story, a book chapter, or a new column for the paper. I find it easier to unwind at night if I can get all the ideas and thoughts filling my head out onto paper, so this is a nightly ritual.
If I allow myself to indulge in at least one guilty pleasure daily, I find I am better able, and more enthusiastic about doing for everyone else. Of course, it also helps that two of my daughters are already grown and out on their own, but as you all know, a mother’s work is never done.
So the next time you feel like you’ve been run through the wringer, or your get up and go has got up and went, maybe taking thirty minutes out of your day to do something just for yourself will help renew your spirit. You will feel like a better person, a better wife, and a better parent.