When you’re constantly giving of yourself to your employer, your significant other, your family, and various other responsibilities, it can be overwhelming. Sometimes you need some me time to restore balance — especially if you’re an introvert like myself.
That’s where I found myself not too long ago.
So one night, I left the dinner dishes in the sink and took some time for me. I worked out — something I hadn’t done in I don’t even know how long. And I surfed the web, indulging in dream shopping for our future.
The next day, I awoke feeling refreshed and excited and ready to face the day head-on — despite being awakened multiple times during the night.
It’s amazing what a little battery recharge can do to keep your spirits going. Of course, I don’t recommend forgoing your responsibilities every evening. I know I certainly won’t. If I did, I would need balance in the other direction. The dishes do need my attention occasionally. And it’s important to care for those around you, especially within your family.
Taking time for myself was something I didn’t do well as a young stay-at-home mother raising my kids. Me time was at the very bottom of my priority list. I can’t help but wonder now if I would have been a better mom had I made me time a higher priority.
Now that our kids have all reached adulthood, my husband and I finally took our first trip to Europe. Before we became parents, he used to say, “We could go to Europe, or we could have kids.” The trip was definitely worth waiting for.
In our tour of Spain and Portugal, we’ve been experiencing a laid-back culture, observing amazing architecture, and enjoying time together as a couple. Although we encounter a language barrier among many of the locals, we’ve found some things convey universally: laughter and smiles.
People are people at heart, no matter their language, culture, or beliefs. They find humor in their lives that provokes belly laughs. The sight of infants and children exploring their surroundings brings smiles to otherwise somber faces. The sound of music leads to foot-tapping and joviality.
Regardless of their culture, people bundle up in cold temperatures and shed outer layers of clothing in warmer ones. They eat and sleep. They go from day to day, often facing many of the same obstacles. It’s how they react to and deal with those obstacles that can be different — even if they speak the same language.
Yes, despite our differences, we’re actually very similar. That’s not to say we’re all the same. Definitely not. It’s our differences that make us unique and make life more exciting and enjoyable. But our similarities reveal the goodness of humanity and remind us we’re all the same race. Maybe if we concentrate more on those likenesses, our seeming contrasts will fade. After all, we’re all people at heart.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"