For many years I, like many of you, stayed busy. All. The. Time. I was a wife and mother with a full-time job who spent my Saturdays volunteering with an animal rescue group and Sundays were reserved for church. Eventually, I reached the point where I realized I just couldn’t keep up that sort of schedule. I was always tired and desperately needed some “me” time. It didn’t help that, as an introvert, I was always surrounded by people – that alone is exhausting. Adding a permanent lack of sleep on top of a drained introvert battery and I was pretty much in zombie mode.
Yes, I felt guilty stepping down from my role with the animal rescue group; these groups struggle to have enough volunteers as it is. But, I had to take care of myself. (And, I feel guilty about pretty much everything so why would this be any different?) What was surprising to me was how fiercely I guarded my Saturdays after that. Saturday became the one day of the week I could sleep in and once I got up, I didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere. Saturday was MINE. That’s not to say I didn’t occasionally have somewhere I had to go on Saturday but if I did you can be sure I had done everything humanly possible to reschedule/get out of it. Sometimes you have to be selfish.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know that my husband and I did the eldercare thing for our remaining three parents for several years. I know that I did the best I could during those years but, I’m human, so I have regrets. One of those regrets is that I didn’t spend my Saturdays taking my mama to the local senior center or other things like that. I’m pretty sure she would have loved it. But, I didn’t. I was still protecting my Saturdays, my precious “me” time. Eldercare is hard. I know I did what I needed to do for myself in order to be able to keep going but… *shrugs*
I retired at the end of April this year meaning that my time is now mine to do with as I will. However, old habits are hard to break and I find myself still fiercely defending my Saturdays. For example, I realized yesterday that I’m scheduled to go to a painting class tonight and immediately found myself trying to think of ways to get out of going. Nope. I paid for this class and I’m going to go. I just have to stop and remind myself that I now have all of the free time in the world – it’s okay to treat Saturdays like any other day. I guess after working for most of my life, it’s going to take more than a couple of months to change my mindset.
What do you do to protect your “me” time?