I needed a day like today. A day to myself. Virginia Woolf thinks a woman needs a room of her own to express herself artfully. It's time I need. Lots of alone time.
And yet I have duties, obligations. That I love, that I want to do, don't get me wrong. But it drains my energy. I spend much of my time helping and caring for others: my daughter, my husband, our pets, my customers and colleagues at work. Writing is for me. I used to feel guilty for taking up so much time with my writing, but I no longer do. I realize how important it is in my life. Some days I feel like I could literally crack up. Break apart. Get so frazzled I finally zap out.
Get out of the way, Becky's in another one of her moods! Call the loony bin!
I've discovered three things that help me steer clear of the Osawatomie State Psychiatric Hospital: walking, talking, and writing.
I walk every day I get a chance, often more than once a day. Sometimes big long hikes at the dog park, but usually just ten or fifteen minute bursts here and there during breaks at work, a half hour or so after I walk Katie to school, twenty minutes or so while Katie and I take the dogs for a walk around the block, walking slowly so my old furry kids can sniff everything.
I talk to my husband Will every day I get a chance. We're lucky we have funny work schedules so we have two mornings of alone time, just him and me, each week when Katie's in school. I savor our conversations. No one understands me better than Will does. I am so blessed to have found such a firm foundation in him.
I write every day I get a chance, too. Some days I don't get much writing done. The obligations get in the way. And that's fine. Then I have days like today where I have seven glorious uninterrupted hours alone to write, to do what I want to do, for me.
I started out the day by making Katie some oatmeal and feeding the pets their dry food. I walked Katie to school. Then I walked around the neighborhood by myself and arrived home by 8:30. I made coffee and did some dishes. Then I sat down to write. I wrote. I listened to Patti Smith's amazing CD "Horses". I played a few games of Words with Friends. I tidied the house. I remembered I'd made coffee and drank it. I threw in a load of laundry. I pet the dogs. I took a picture of one of Katie's stuffed animals and shared it on Facebook. I checked to see if I have all the ingredients to make some cookies for our new neighbors. I wrote some more.
And when it's time for me to leave the house and walk back to Katie's school so I can escort her home, and when it's time for Will to return home from work, my energy will be recharged and I can give of myself wholly to them. And tomorrow, when I return to work after another day of glorious alone time writing and walking and having time to talk to my husband and play with my child, I can give my best self to the customers I serve. I'm a better employee since I cut back my hours from forty a week to twenty-four. I can give a whole day of myself to my job if I have six other days to devote to my family and myself.
Never let anyone tell you it is selfish to take some time of your own to do as you please. I am a more giving person when I take time for my own needs.