Monday, July 29, 2019

When's the last time you felt like your own person?

"All I want to do is sleep, eat and read," I told my friend Wendy. We were talking about a getaway this weekend that we'd planned with our other bestie, Hedy.

"Oh, I know—sometimes you just want to feel like a person," she said.

Yes, that was it exactly. I wanted to feel like my own person. Not someone's mother (love you, kids!), not someone's wife (love you, Dave!), not someone's daughter (love you, Mom!) or sister (love you, Judy!), not someone's employee (love you, job)! As much as I'd looked forward to getting a massage and visiting a winery or two, what I most craved was doing exactly what I wanted to do, exactly as I pleased. This is what I lack in my ordinary life; my me-time starts somewhere around 10:00 p.m. or so on any given night after the kids are in bed and my house is in somewhat respectable order. (Somewhat.)

But this Saturday and Sunday, as I relaxed, I kept thinking that life was too short for me to only feel like my own person when I've escaped. I wondered: What makes me feel this way in real life and how can I get more of it? What I realized:

Waking up early in the morning before everyone else in my family is prime me-time, assuming I haven't been up till 1:00 a.m. the night before on a Netflix bender. Sipping iced coffee in the calm of my kitchen with the early morning light pouring in—before I have to serve breakfast or beg someone to wake up for school or scramble to get dressed for work—helps me feel centered for the rest of the day. So I need to do that more often, which starts with going to sleep early more often, which means the house may look not so close to respectable order more often. And I have to be OK with that, because it will pay off in me points.

Family activities that involve my interests and not Disney characters on ice or fire stations or shopping for overpriced leggings at the mall also make me feel like my own person, though they're rare. And so, I need to plan more trips to photo exhibits, museums and fancypants gardens, and maybe there will be some whining but maybe the kids will actually (gasp!) enjoy themselves and won't that be a great way to expand their interests and also I can bring headphones.

Also! Browsing in the library makes me feel like my own person, although I rarely make time for it.  This is an activity—such a basic, simple, no-plans-required activity—that's my equivalent of comfort food. I grew up reading ten books a week as a kid (the maximum number you could take out), and in high school worked in a library. I love books: checking out new ones, flipping through them, and just being around them. My book club disbanded years ago; it's time to find a new one.

Also! Taking the occasional walk during lunchtime at the office instead of sitting at my desk, downing salad bar and working makes me feel like my own person. It's totally do-able, if I make a conscientious effort to break out of this decades-old routine.

Also! Making more plans to see friends during weeknights. And carving out time to work out. Dave is a lot better at both of these than I am. My turn!

This all sounds so good right now and I feel so resolute but soon enough the school year will start with its avalanche of to-dos and me and my person-ness will once again be buried alive. So this week, I am going to be setting reminders on my calendar labeled BYOP (Be Your Own Person) and booking activities for the next couple of months and even setting actual alarms. So there will be no avoiding it: I will be my own person. 

BYOP, people.


  1. It is so hard with young kids to take time for yourself. I "donated" gym fees for a few years as I just never made it. However, I almost always made times to walk, even in the dark after my husband came home, going early with a neighborhood friend, or coercing (sometimes forcing) a young kid to come along in a stroller or later on a bike or scooter. I always had my monthly book group and a night out with women friends a few times a month that really kept me connected. Now that they are gone, I miss those life-is-too-busy days, so cherish them. But absolutely carve out some time for yourself. Glad you got away.

    1. Ha, I've donated my fair share of gym fees as well. I do the occasional Girls Game Night with friends—we play Pictionary, Catchphrase etc. and it is really good fun. Come to think of it, we're overdue for our next one.

  2. My kids are both away at camp for the first time and I am doing my best to have ‘me’ time - it is really wonderful but sadly foreign after so many years. Thanks for sharing this post.


Thanks for sharing!

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