We all have those weeks when the door to our home feels more like a revolving one. Leave to go to work. Come home, change, run out again. To appointments. Our children’s activities. The store. Practice. Return. Repeat. It seems never ending.
Next thing you know, you’re drinking out of plastic cups, eating off paper plates in an attempt to minimize what you’ve got to wash. The house is a mess. The ironing board you hastily set up in the dining room to press pants for work has been sitting there for two weeks. You haven’t talked to your teenager beyond morning and evening grunts for days.
Enough. I don’t know about you, but times like these make me feel like a transient in my own home. Bereft. I’d even venture to say I’ve actually felt homesick. It’s downright depressing, and it’s frighteningly easy to get into this rut of scarcity. The temporary fixes to get by, to get through another day can become a habit. A mode of survival.
But I want to live, not survive.
Living, to me, means using all I’ve got to the fullest. Enjoying it. Sharing it. Looking, and really seeing, what, and who’s, around me. Pursuing pleasure, in my surroundings, in my possessions, with the people in my life, is oxygen for my soul.
It’s self love. A mindful, conscious decision to give myself the time I deserve. To nurture. To enjoy. To indulge.
There’s a bottle of perfume I’d been keeping on a shelf for ‘special’ occasions. When I realized I hadn’t used it in over a year, I took it out of its box and displayed it on my nightstand. Now, each morning, I see its lovely shape and I use it because the scent pleases me. It’s something little. Special. Extra.
Though I don’t have a dishwasher, I’ve started using a real glass for drinking water throughout the day. It feels good in my hand. Even the beverage tastes better.
I made my bed. Funny how that simple act nurtures me. Not only does the bedroom look tidy, it welcomes me, makes getting into it at night a pleasure.
I hung up a lovely wall rack, its hooks made from antique silver spoons, in my kitchen. I’d been meaning to get to it, and something always came up. I made time. Now, each morning, I have the pleasure of using it, seeing it. And I remember the festival where my daughter and I found it, and had so much fun.
I went to the library. The silence, the peace, shelves upon shelves of books, waiting to be discovered, shelters me, invigorates me. Brings me the joy of anticipation.
I bought take out and had dinner with my daughter. I’d scarcely seen her all week, beyond “Good morning” and “Good night” and it felt good to slow down, share a meal. Reconnect.
Take a good look around. I bet you’ve got your own ‘perfume bottles’ and ‘wall racks’, just waiting to be noticed.
Bottom line, I don’t want to wait for a special occasion to enjoy my life. And I won’t let outside commitments and other people decide for me how I’m going to spend my time. I won’t allow myself, and my needs to get lost in the shuffle of life and its many demands.
Being mindful that those demands are encroaching on your happiness, of establishing boundaries, is critical to finding balance. And though it can be challenging, its necessary to pursue a full life.
And the good news is, achieving that doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. It can be as simple as using the good dishes. Wearing the new outfit. Having a party for kicks.
Abundance, baby. We are our own best reason to celebrate, every single day.
Rebecca E. Neely is a reader, storyteller, blogger and author. Careers, past and present, include freelance writing, accounting, mother, problem solver, doer and head bottle washer. Her latest novel is The Betrayer, Book 3 in the Crossing Realms paranormal romance series. Find Rebecca on Twitter @RebeccaNeely1.