Friday, January 30, 2009

Who's Time is it Anyway?

What a day!   Those of you who take care of others already know how hard it is to get some time for yourself, I don't have to tell you.  But wow.  Today, I feel like there was absolutely no time to breathe.  Absolutely. No. Time.  I was running here and there for work, then here and there for my kids - picking this one up, putting him there.  Picking that one up and taking him there.  A seemingly never-ending process that has landed me, at 10:30 pm, on the couch to finally take a moment for me.  

I started reading "The Simple Life" by Frank Levering and Wanda Urbanski earlier (ok, so I guess I did get a few minutes to read...) and it makes my head swim with grand ideas.  I have just barely scratched the surface of their journal about moving from crazy-busy LA to the quieter, more humane orchards of Virginia.  Although the story is set in the 80's, I am able to get a sense of what it was like for them to throw in the towel on their jet-setting life and turn instead to family and a slower pace.  Being that they came to the family farm to take over the debt-laden orchard business, they speak about having to cut spending habits developed in the big city to stay afloat.  
Another reason this couple decided to take a hike from southern California is that they were so busy trying to keep up with everyone else that they forgot to take care of their own relationship.  Within all the bustle of glamor-life, they lost their sense of self and reasons for being together.  I can't say I work the 60-70 hour work weeks that they did, but I must say I can relate.  
Isn't it always the relationship closest to each of us that suffers the most?  When we were growing up, my sister and I would fight like cats and dogs.  Over anything.  She took my shirt.  She looked at me funny.  She spilled glue on my homework.  Her stuff is touching my stuff.  I still remember my mother hollering "Girls!" up the stairs as we would launch into yet another crazy tirade.  But the funny things is, I think we always knew our relationship was safe because you can't divorce your sister.  Ultimately, we always knew that we'd get over whatever made us so mad, and we'd be sort-of friends again.  But as the closest person to me, I loved to hate her.  Thankfully, we both grew out of that fighting stage, and now I adore her.
So this makes me think about how I behave when I'm most tired now.  Can I be assured that my loving family gets my patient attention?  Can I justify all of my time away working as well as my time at home too exhausted to participate in family activities?  Is the payoff worth it?  This brings me to wonder how other people decompress when they've had a full day.  Do you have special rituals or activities that bring you down from a full day?  Have you had to make decisions to cut work or social life because you may have lost some perspective on family time? 

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