“I spent my time taking care of everyone else, and when it was my turn, there was no time and no money.”
You could hear the wistfulness in her voice as she said these words. The years of hard work and determination to make sure her family was cared for and loved and clothed and fed. Not only her children, but her husband as well, and I would assume probably her aging parents. I would also assume that not only was there no time and no money, but I would guess that there was no energy left on her part to expend on herself, and likely no energy to really care at that time.
We all go through seasons of life when it’s easy to put ourselves last. We spend so much time taking care of other people, and other things. We spend time doing all the things we should do, things that we ought to do, and the things that everyone else wants us to do to make their lives easier. But how many times do we do something for ourselves, something that we want to do?
I’m as guilty of it as anyone else is. I’ve spent at least the last 8 years (and probably a lot more) putting myself last. Then, my outlook changed on a lot of things. I don’t know that it was any one thing that changed it, or if it was just a lot of little things that added up to one moment. But it changed. Somewhere along the way I had lost myself, and it’s so painfully easy to do, and worse is that I never really looked back. But when I did, I almost didn’t recognize the person I had become and worst of all I couldn’t even remember the person I used to be nor could I remember what that person even wanted. I’ve let other people influence my very being in every way possible. Something had to change. I had to do something to make my life mine again, to make it more meaningful, make it more interesting, and hopefully make it longer. I had to find out who I was and I felt compelled to find her fast before my children got old enough to realize that I didn’t know who I was. How could I teach them to be true to themselves and follow their dreams if they couldn’t see me doing the same thing? The thought scared me. The thought that my children may not be able to tell someone who their mom was and what she liked and what she did or what my little quirks were. It’s a very scary thought for me.
So I started making some changes, and little by little, I’ve started finding a new me or rediscovering the old me and making a few improvements. It’s a journey, and I don’t think it’s a journey that has a final destination. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel I’ve arrived, but I know that I feel better when I make time for myself to do the things I love or to take better care of myself.
The lady I mentioned above….she was a lady on House Hunters International looking for a villa in Italy. She closed the show by saying “My time is now. This is for me. I’ve lived for everyone else, now I’m living for me and I couldn’t be happier.”
I don’t think you have to live for everyone else before you can live for yourself. I think that as with a lot of things, moderation is the key. I think you have to find pockets of time to live for yourself so that you can continue to live for everyone else.