Everyone has a list of things they like to do when indulging themselves, when for once in their hectic schedules they allow a little selfishness. Women especially have this over riding feeling that being selfish occasionally is somehow wrong or even, dare I say it, sinful! I am here to tell you now, it is not!
Since when was making time for yourself a selfish act? An act of pure evil? It isn’t but for some reason many people, myself included, feel guilty for doing what could be perceived as nothing. There is always a list of chores to be done, a much over due phone call to be made, day to day things that simply cannot be put off. And that is on top of work. We often find excuses to fill every last minuscule of time so as not to feel wasted. I’m not even sure where this feeling of reluctance to relax comes from; is it our gender? Upbringing? Social and environmental expectations? I think mine is perhaps linked to my self confidence and self esteem, as if I don’t think I deserve any ‘me’ time!
Ridiculous I know. And as I learn how to relax – yes I have had to learn this skill – I have understood just how important it is to make time and space for yourself and your thoughts; how important it is occasionally to give into your selfish whims and desires. I used to burn myself out, completely. I would be at work before 7.30 in the morning and whether it be at home or at school, I would continue to work going up for 7 in the evening. I would then also fit in the housework, the cooking and cleaning. Delegation was attempted, but I was something of a control freak – you may even use the word anal! I would also take on the worries and concerns of those around me, I would think their problems mine and somehow feel a sense of responsibility for finding a solution. I understand that everyone takes on these aspects of life, but what it took me a long time to realise was that it was OK to also make time for myself.
I can no longer argue the point that I have no more ‘me’ time – I have spent the last twelve months doing precisely what I want every single day. It has been glorious and I wish it would never end, but that wouldn’t be life now would it?! But there are still those little personal indulgences I have come to love and cherish; a long hot bath with a glass of wine, a walk in the sunshine, knitting or sewing, dipping a dark chocolate bar into my hot tea and slurping on the melted goop. But the thing that has me churning with selfish delight is spending a whole day reading!
I discovered this was something loved to do whilst reading the fifth Harry Potter instalment. It was after my degree finals and I spent a whole glorious day with my nose in a book. Unless I am on holiday, I very rarely pour myself into this type of indulgence. But as time is now running short and the impending September work beings to cast a shadow, I think I will make sure I experience the thrill of a lazy reading day (or two). And it shall not be seen as a day wasted, but a day enjoyed and a day spent revitalising the soul.
I suggest you take a day to indulge likewise, maybe not reading for its entirety, but forget the world for a day; sample those delights you have long put to one side. Forget about the chores and the people that require your time and energy and give it back to yourself. Be selfish. Be happy.