Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Making Time for Yourself

Sometimes we seem to forget that we are important, that we owe ourselves a little time and attention. I know this is something that both women and men are guilty of it, but more women seem to do it than men. We put our children first, our husbands first, our friends, our jobs, our housework, our pets, our bills, even the things we volunteer for. Then last and least, if there is a second of time left, we think about ourselves.

I’m just as guilty of this as others. (Smile)

I started putting my husband’s needs first when I married at the ripe ol’ age of seventeen. Just before I reached nineteen I had our first child, a son. Of course he had to come first too. (Smile) A daughter came a few years later. A few years more and I begin to write romance novels. Of course that fell into place after the cooking and the dishes, and running children to school and practice and the volunteer work at those schools. (No matter how little time I had, I found it hard to say no when someone asked me to do something.)

It was okay. I was young. There would be plenty of time for me later.

More years went they flew by. I was still running children back and forth, trying to cook huge family meals like Mom, and still do volunteer work, write, and keep my house decent--I had given up on spotless.

A couple more years and I added a full-time freelance writing job to my schedule. With it came a killer weekly deadline, but at least a good paycheck arrived every week as well. Most of my volunteer work took the hit. There just weren’t enough hours in the day. My romance writing took a hit as well, a big one, and ended up pushed completely aside.

More years went by at the speed of light, and still there was no time for me. In fact, there was less, since my parents had added me to their family late in life; I was now a woman with children and parents that needed care. As my children needed less, my parents needed more.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that my weight crept up each year, that by the time I was thirty I had high blood pressure and needed medicine to control it.

A few more years went by. My health got worse. I added high cholesterol and diabetes to my list.

My parents are both gone. (I miss them so much!) My first-born left home, is about to finish college, and is getting married soon. My youngest will begin her last year of high school in August. The freelance job is gone, and yet other things always pile in.

The key is, that it will always be that way, if we let it. I will admit that it’s a recent discovery, and I’m still kind of new to this all, but I’ve learned to say no, and I’m learning to put me first. If we push ourselves until we pay for it with our health, then what good are we to anyone? We have to take care of ourselves first before we are fully able to help others.

That means I make time to write now, for me, what I want to write, what I enjoy writing. I make time to work out, every day. (So, I don’t like that part of my day, but it’s important.) I also make time to relax, to watch a good movie now and then, to curl up in bed an hour early and just read. I might not do these things as often as I should, but I have a feeling I’m going to get better at it.

I hope after reading this, you’ll get better at it to. (Smile) Try to do it sooner instead of later!

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