Having only just returned from Slovakia and feeling like I need yet another holiday, I came to the realisation that I don’t spend enough time standing still. I am so busy rushing around going from seeing one friend or another, studying, dance class, language lessons, making time for my beloved and family, that I don’t take enough “me-time” to just sit down relax and do the things I enjoy for me.
We are all so caught up in the rat-race of work, kids, keeping a home, keeping up with friends, fitting in yet another activity, that we forget how to take time out for ourselves. To enjoy the art of cooking a homemade meal from scratch, to take the time to taste and savour your cup of tea or coffee, to enjoy curling up on a rainy day with a good book.
So when did our lives become so busy and more importantly, why have we allowed it?
I used to get through at least two books a month. Now, I’m lucky if I get through 4 in a year. So what changed? Part of my problem is I’m always wanting to do something, always striving for something new and wanting to glean knew knowledge and skills from every orifice I can find now, now, NOW!
Not content with learning one language, I try to learn 5. Then I sit and wonder why I feel like I’m treading water, when I fail to grasp the basics in all these languages. When I take the time to stop, take a deep breath and focus on the one language, I find I’m progressing faster.
I’m very friends and family orientated too. I spend a lot of time worrying about how people are, what their weeks have been like, are they okay? I wrack myself with guilt at not spending “enough time” with them. Isn’t time relative? Surely, a quick text when you haven’t got the resources to see them lets them know their at least not far from your mind. Shouldn’t that be enough? Am I even enough? I spent a lot of my teenage and early 20s being “that friend”. The one there at someone’s beck and call 24/7. I often burnt myself out. As I reached my later 20s and soon move into my 30s, I realise I cannot be all things to everyone. It’s not humanly possible and I am only human.
I forget to take the time to sit and savour the tea I’m drinking. To wrap my cool fingers around the cup for warmth like it’s hugging all the tension out of my aching and weary muscles. I forget how much I enjoy yoga, to get me started for the day laid out ahead of me (even if it does mean waking up 15 minutes earlier), and how it aids in keeping my body supple and injury free when dancing.
We so often take the little things for granted. The sounds of the rain on the window panes on a rainy afternoon, the quiet hum of a bumblebee as it pollenates in summer, the quiet breathing of our children as they lie a sleep at night. So eager to move onto the next task in hand, so frantically trying to “keep up”. But for whom? Ourselves? Or the society around us? Whom tell us breakfast must be eaten at this time, working hours are 9-5 (if your not coerced into overtime), and if your not drained by the end of your day – you must not be doing enough!
But sometimes we must stop. Take a deep intake of breath and say NO! Enough is enough. I need time for me and to not be made to feel guilty for wishing it so. I need time to sit in prayer to replenish my soul, I need time away from the kids to come back afresh and renewed to be the best parent I can be for them, I need an hour to curl up with my book and replenish my mind. Time for ME! Just me, myself and I.
So, that is what I am slowly learning to do. I’m learning to not be afraid to stop and sit for a while. To take time away from my family, to not feel guilt about not seeing a friend that week or visiting the many Godchildren or friends children that I feel an affinity with, to just sit in my room and reflect on life, pray without interruption, choreograph a dance routine, to blog for the simple enjoyment of writing and not because my readers have a set “routine”. To take the time to stop and be still. To where possible, set the rhythm of my own life and let it run its course naturally.