Putting Myself First

A little over a week ago I was paddleboarding. It was a beautiful day and I slid easily over the water. A part of me knew that the return would be more difficult. Somewhere inside registered that both the current and the wind were pushing me in the direction I wanted to go. But it was wonderful, gliding gracefully with little effort.

I might have gone further than I should have that day. It was relaxing, peaceful, painless. Finally, I decided I needed to turn around. I was out there by myself and although not far from shore I had gone quite a distance from where I would be able to get out of the water.

I turned around with no problem (I’m getting pretty confident on the board). And then I was hit with full force. Although I paddled with all my might the current and the wind combined were too much. I pushed the paddle into the water with every ounce of strength I could muster. I leaned forward to gain leverage. And still I wasn’t sure I was even moving forward.

Slowly I gained a little momentum and I inched in the direction I needed to go. I knew if I sat down on the board I would move faster. My body was creating too much resistance against the wind. But stubbornly I refused. I argued silently that I was getting a good workout, that I was improving on the paddleboard more because it was challenging. When I had barely budged from my starting point a gust of wind pushed me backward and I was forced to relent.

I sat and paddled. And I made progress. It was easier without so much resistance. But the easy way is not for me (apparently). As soon as the wind died down a little I stood again. I continued to advance bit by bit, more slowly than when I had been sitting, but I was at least moving forward – until the next gust.

I continued this way, standing when the wind was calmer, sitting when I had to. Eventually I made it to my destination but I was exhausted.

My life the past couple of weeks has felt this way, with both the wind and current fighting me. Maybe the answer is as simple as sitting down.

The post below reminded me yesterday how important it is for me to take time for myself:

The Value of β€œMe” Time as a Parent

This is something I’m usually pretty good at, but this morning I started thinking about the last time I really took time for just me – time not spent working on one of my projects, or hosting a Meetup, or taking care of the kids, or helping a friend, or taking kittens to the vet, or exercising, or working on this blog, or reading to improve something, or even writing (at least writing with a purpose). And honestly I can’t remember. I used to be good about taking time for myself.

There are a few things I do just for me (like meditating) but for the most part I’ve been cramming every possible moment with something productive. Yesterday, as I waited for the vet at the animal shelter (because the kittens we’re fostering got sick almost as soon as I brought them home) I worked on my novel. I love working on my novel, but I’m struggling with the rewrite. I love how it’s coming out but it’s a lot of work to get it where I want it to be – and I know there will be other drafts after this attempt.

Sunday I went paddleboarding on the river – something I would have been happy to do alone – something I want to do alone – but I posted it as a Meetup and so was coerced into completing a trip that I would have happily spent 4-5 hours doing in just over 2 1/2 hours.

Saturday I spent working on the murder mystery for our Halloween party – something I enjoy but forces me to think in a way I’m not accustomed to (putting together clever clues is not something that is easy to do). When I became frustrated with that project I went back to working on my novel, and became equally frustrated with that.

Working backwards I can easily see how I’ve filled my time. They’re all worthwhile projects but what happened to just enjoying being once in a while?

I have a deadline for the murder mystery party (10/20). And I have now committed to creating a haunted graveyard in my backyard for a night-before-the-party party (10/19). I love Halloween and I’m excited about both of these…but much of my free time between now and then will involve getting ready for this big event (we look forward to this all year).

But I am going to find a way, somehow, to make more time for myself. I need to put myself first sometimes and October – my favorite month – is as good a time as any to start.

9 thoughts on “Putting Myself First”

  1. Great analogy. I’ve done paddle boarding twice and really loved it.
    I am like you in that I rarely take the time to just be. My time is spent always doing something. I consider running as my me time, it’s still achieving something but it allows my mind to switch off. Take care and find that time for recharging your emotional reserves xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’ve taken up running a little myself but it’s usually on the treadmill and I don’t particularly enjoy it. I’m planning a trip at the end of October on my own to recharge. Just the idea of it has helped. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

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