Table For One, Please.
When was the last time you did something fun for you? Not something that was on your to-do list, or something for the kids, or something that you’ve convinced yourself you need to do to lose weight / be a better human / contribute to the community / get on top of for work. Something completely, wholeheartedly, 100% for yourself. My guess is you probably can’t remember when the last time was.
I was at the hairdresser recently and we finished up around 7pm. She asked if I was going to head out for a drink to take advantage of the fact that my boyfriend was on Daddy duty (and the fact that I had luscious hair!). I thought about it for a brief minute and then made a joke about needing to get back home to make sure everything was OK. But the fact is, I couldn’t ‘allow’ myself 30 minutes to go and take a little time out. In that brief moment I convinced myself of all the important things that needed to be done – putting Gracie Ella to bed, putting on the extra load of washing, writing that email, tidying up all the toys (that I do every night only to be discovered again the next morning – ‘Ahh, look at that!’.) But of course, all these things could have waited, and of course Dylan (my lover / partner / better half / most annoying person on the planet) was more than capable of putting our little one to bed. So why didn’t I give myself this time out?
We often complain about how little time we have to ourselves (or is it just me!?), but when we are presented with the opportunity to do something nice or fun, or different, we’re simply not in the habit of saying yes. Saying yes please I’m going to gift myself that 5 minutes to just close my eyes, or watch that doco on Netflix, or take myself out a table for one. In fact, I’ve never been to the movies by myself, I don’t call my girlfriends nearly as often as I’d like, I’ve never booked in for an impromptu massage and I’ve definitely never walked into a restaurant and said ‘table for one, please’.
I have a theory that guys are just way better at this stuff than us gals. I had an ex-boyfriend that used to regularly take “me-days”. He didn’t call them “me-days” of course, he would just call work and say he was either sick or that he was taking a last minute day off. He would go to the gym, have a nice sauna, treat himself to bacon and eggs for brunch, do a bit of shopping, get a hair cut and nap in the afternoon. Amazing. Dylan is also great at this – he would have 100% taken the opportunity to grab a quick drink if the situation was reversed, he often treats himself to coffees or yummy treats if he’s in the mood, and he makes time to connect with awesome people in his life, simply because he values himself and his own time.
I, on the other hand, find myself thinking “humm, nah I won’t have that turmeric latte when I can just make myself a cup of tea at home”. Ha, what rubbish. Girl, spend the 4 bucks and get the latte. (I kinda said ‘girl’ in a real southern accent – sounds way cooler that way.)
Life is all about having experiences – and connecting with awesome people – and if you are not “allowing” yourself to do these things, or “allowing” yourself to have time out and me-time, then you are not living. It’s as simple as that.
So, I’m actively on the look out for opportunities to do things for me. It’s not selfish, it’s actually really, friggen important. Because unless you give yourself enough time and space and energy and love, no one else is going to either. And they shouldn’t. It’s your job to speak up about what you need, to check in to see what your soul is craving, and to carve out space to make these things happen.
So what might that look like for you? Here are some ideas for you to toy with:
- Dedicate time each week to calling, or catching up with, awesome people in your life. Not for a particular purpose, simply to connect, and laugh and share stories and experiences. CHALLENGE: Reach out to someone today that you think is awesome but you keep putting off catching up with.
- Take a half day off, just for yourself. Don’t get distracted by all the “important” things you need to do (trust me they will be there waiting for you!) Maybe schedule in a Friday afternoon off, buy your favourite magazine, go to your favourite cafe and gift yourself an hour or two chill time.
- Go for a walk – not to get in your 10,000 points (although that’s a bonus!), but just go for a stroll. Listen to music or your favourite podcast, or simply tune in to the sounds around you.
- Book in for that meditation or yoga retreat that’s been on your mind for the past 6 months.
- Don’t tidy up, for a whole day – I know, C-R-A-Z-Y.
- Join a choir, pottery class, art school or creative writing course – set some time aside each week for you.
- Get up 20 minutes early and soak up the space. It might sound like an odd suggestion but once you get into the habit of getting up a bit early, the quiet of the morning is such an incredible and inspirational space.
So, I’m giving myself this little challenge, and I encourage you to do the same. At some point in the near future I’m going to take myself out for that drink, all by myself. It might feel weird and confronting but I’m going to embrace it and enjoy every minute of it (well, as best I can while probably feeling quite awkward about the fact that I’m there on my own!). But life is sometimes awkward, and that’s so cool.
Image credits: Dylan Galletly, Andre Benz, Bewakoof, Clem Onojeghuo.