I don’t know about you, but my journals are usually the first step in my figuring crap out. A kind of putting my thoughts into written form that is the first step towards saying it out loud. Things I’m not sure I’m ALLOWED to say out loud.
And then, almost magically, after writing my thoughts in these books, a moment presents itself and I realize that perhaps I’m not the only one questioning whether something is okay. Or I am reminded of a lesson I must teach my children.
And yesterday was no exception.
My 13 year old returned from having spent two days here with her girlfriend, then another two days at her girlfriend’s house, followed by another night at another friend’s house and she was sleep-deprived and desperately needed to recharge at home, surrounded by family.
“There’s some dance starting at 6pm.” She said, showing me the notification her phone.
I took one look at her and shook my head. “Go out again tonight? No way. You look like you are ready to fall over. I think you should stay home.”
The relief was plain in her face. “Thanks, Mom.”
It made me realize something very important. Despite my best efforts to raise a child who is confident, kind, and caring – all things that Emily is – I had also somehow encouraged her to put others before herself. I think that our culture in general does this. In most cases, women still handle a majority of the house work, despite men being more than capable. They often also deal with the organization of the home – maintaining calendars, seeing that the family members make it to events, doctor’s appointments, and more. I handle all of that, the family finances, and even gift-giving for our family.
And that isn’t BAD necessarily, but it puts an onus of responsibilities upon us. Such that, sometimes, if we aren’t careful, we lose ourselves in the clutter of running a household, children, career and more.
I don’t want to teach my children to sacrifice their own needs and wants by saying “I should” instead of “I want” too often. I don’t want to lose my sense of self or teach my daughters the message that fulfilling everyone else’s needs and desires should come first.
So I told her about my “year of ME” as I’m referring to it. And don’t get me wrong. The bills will still get paid. The house will still be cleaned. The work will still be done. But those things that I often dismiss, those “I wants” that I often set aside in exchange for “I should” or “I need to do this” – well, I’m going to do my best to ask myself each morning what I want to do in the day. And as best as I can, to accommodate those wishes and desires into each day of the year.
It isn’t intended to be selfish. Instead, I think of it as being intentional and positive.
This year seems special. Turning 30, and then 40, they didn’t affect me overly much. But 50 seems like a hell of a big deal. Half a century, after all!
I want to recognize this milestone and open myself up to the possibilities that the next 30-40 years have waiting for me. I welcome you, in whatever age or stage you are in, to do the same. Every morning ask yourself, what do YOU want to see happen today? For yourself, for others. What will my year of me look like? What will yours?