Is Self-Care Selfish?

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As you know, I’ve been rising early in order to work-out.  Sometimes that means that I’m up at 4:30 a.m. since I’ve been doing most of my walking in the morning, in my basement with Denise Austin.  Why you may ask?  Well, our heat index has been 105° on more than one occasion.  So, the other day, I was minding my own business when I was informed by a family member that the very fact that I work-out is extremely selfish of me.  I was taking time and doing something for myself that should be spent doing something (anything) for the family.

There was something so shocking about this statement that I was at a loss for words.  After reflection on this I wonder, what should I be doing at 4:30 am?  Vacuuming?  Washing the floors?  Dusting?  The fact of the matter is, if I wasn’t working out, I’d be sleeping.  But, how come all my time is supposed to be “for the family”?  Aren’t we all adults here?

The definition of selfish is to be concerned exclusively with oneself, to the detriment of others.  I seriously do not think that making extra time in my day to exercise has anything to do with the detriment of other family members.  I still do everything that I was doing before I started working out every day, so this statement is patently untrue.  However, the purpose of his saying this was deliberately to undermine what I was doing.  I have seen positive changes this year, and that is what is bothering some people in my immediate family, not just this one individual.  When you start to change your life, some people may see this as a negative directed at them.  For their own reasons, they were happy with the status quo and now you’ve gone and changed yourself in certain ways.  This can be a problem, but remember, if you are changing yourself for your own reasons, they don’t get to say what you should or shouldn’t do.  (As long as what you’re doing involves only you).  So, self-care is not selfish.

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What Does “Home” Mean to You?

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What does home mean to you?  Is the place that you live your home, or is your “real” home somewhere else?  For many people that may be the place where they grew up.  Other people find everything that the word home stands for in a place in nature – the woods, or the ocean.  For myself I feel that I’ve got two different homes.  The first is in nature – the ocean does it for me.  I could stay there forever, and at the risk of sounding insane, I hate to leave the ocean once I’ve actually gotten myself there.  I’ve always wanted to live as close as I can get to the ocean, but so far, I’ve got to make do with living about one and a half hours away.

My second “home” is my family (specifically, my daughter).  Whenever I’m with her I really do feel like I am home.  I’m sure that it’s the feeling of absolute love and trust that makes me feel this way.

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To talk about my “actual” home, it isn’t really set-up in a way that I would prefer, but it is still home, since this is where I’ve raised my children.  We had “beach” parties in the family room in the middle of winter.  I sat on the floor in the hallway outside my children’s rooms and read them The Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and a host of other books for years.  We home schooled in the dining room, ate dinner together as a family every night in the kitchen, and watched movies in the living room.  It may not be fancy, but it’s still home.

Share your thoughts about “home” in the comments below.

Life, Pictures and Stuff

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Just thought that I’d share a few of my nature shots from my neighborhood.  After a slow spring, the lilacs are starting to bloom.

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This is just a look at the sky one morning.  It was just beautiful!IMG_3882And, here is a sunset.

Now that the weather has warmed up I’m trying to get outside more.  Since I’ve been somewhat stressed lately, I’m trying to add positivity to my life.  What have you been doing lately?  Let me know in the comments below!

Hermits and Stuff

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I recently read the non-fiction book The Stranger in the Woods – The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel.  This is the true story of Christopher Knight, the man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years.  I don’t know about you, but I often consider the option of running away from civilization and living by myself in the middle of nowhere.  Of course, I’d have to be self-sufficient, including growing my own food, etc., which would require tons of work, and that’s the main reason why I haven’t done anything like that…money being the other compelling reason.

But this account brought up a lot of issues for me.  Do I really consider someone who stole for survival a hermit?  What about his watching t.v. (yes, he stole a t.v., and watched it frequently), he also played hand-held computer games, and listened to a purloined radio.  While living alone and not speaking to anyone for 27 years (with one exception of saying hi to a hiker in the 1990’s) is an accomplishment, it’s not really what I think of when contemplating my own hermitage.  If I were going to become a hermit, I’m pretty sure that I would not want any interaction with civilization.  Actually, to be honest, this is something that I’ve thought about since I was a child and read a National Geographic story about a Park Ranger who lived in the middle of Yellowstone (I think) during the winter and was so isolated that his supplies were helicoptered in for him.  He spent the time that he wasn’t working reading and writing.  That was the life, I always felt – being paid to be alone, and to read and write!  A dream come true!

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At some point I understood that jobs like that just were not available, then I got married and had children.  Even though I am an introvert, I can tolerate being around others for a period of time.  As an aside, my children had the earliest bed-time ever, mainly because I’d had enough of “togetherness” by the end of the day and knew my limits.  I need time alone to “de-compress” after a day with others, although my patience for being with groups seems to be getting smaller and smaller as I age.  Do any of you daydream of the day when you just might turn into a full-time hermit?  How would you go about it?  Let me know in the comments below.

What to do When there is Extra Time?

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As you may know from an earlier post, we lost our electricity sometime early Monday morning.  This left me with a few problems, the worst of which was that we didn’t have any water.  To make matters worse than that, I also hadn’t washed the dishes on Sunday night.  So now I had a sink full of dirty dishes that I could do nothing with.  What to do?  I just left them there, after all, I needed any extra water to flush the toilet.

But, what do you do when you can’t distract yourself with cleaning the house, working on your computer and all those other things that require electricity?  Well, you read.  Yes, you read.  However, one of the problems with reading is that you need some form of light to do it.  So, that pretty much curtails your night just a little bit.

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I was lucky that my local library was open and had electricity.  I took out a good number of books and proceeded to read my way past the annoyance of no lights and no water.  It was great, but I felt horribly guilty…the dishes, the not being able to cook (okay, not so much), but it was really hard.  I also felt as though I was completely cut off from the world.  Yes, there were stores I could go to, and of course, the library.  However, there was no social media.  It was freeing.  I didn’t really know what was going on in this crazy world, but really, the news is usually fairly bad anyway.  But indictments dude!  However, I can’t really say that I missed my social media much.  It can be such a time-suck.  We all know what happens when you watch just one YouTube video and look up to find that you’ve “lost” two or even three hours.  Well, that didn’t happen.  The sad thing was that I always have a list of things to do just in case I have the time to do them.  However, most of them were things that electricity was a necessity.

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So, now that I have all this time on my hands, I’ve got a list of things to do once we get out electricity back.  Wonderful, exciting things like: running the dishwasher, washing the piles and piles of clothes, cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming the house, washing the floors, and of course, the dreaded cooking. What fun!

So, what do you do when you find yourself with unexpected time?   

Being Quiet

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The world that we live in is fast.  I know, I’m a person who runs around for a lot of my time trying to get things done as fast as I can.  I talk fast and I walk fast.  The sooner it’s done, the faster it’s over.  That’s usually how I live my life.  I speak so fast that it’s hard for others to understand what it is that I’m saying.  I’ve been working on slowing my speech down, and moving a little more slowly since I know that operating in a super-fast mode is doing myself no favors.  There is probably more than one reason I’ve got high blood pressure.  Slowing down is a struggle.  It’s something we all probably have to work on.  The real problem with living life in the fast lane is that you lose touch with your inner self.  Do you feel that you’ve got a “speed” problem?  Let me know how you deal with it in the comments below.

 

Creating Happiness

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Believe it or not, material possessions and other people do not make us happy.  Sure, buying something new can give you a little “lift” in spirits, if that’s the way you think you should be happy.  However, that lift never lasts, and then you’ve got to go out and get something new again.  It’s a never-ending proposition and one that certainly will not bring you lasting happiness.  The same holds true with collecting new people.  When you look outside yourself for happiness, you will always be disappointed.  Whatever lift you feel initially, will not last, and will often leave you feeling even more empty inside.

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However, when we realize that the only happiness that lasts is the one we make ourselves, that is when we will truly be happy.  Happiness really is an inside event.  Only we can create our own happiness.  How can this be done?  First of all, you have to really know yourself.  You need to spend some quiet time with yourself, and find out what might make you happy.  Many times, unhappiness stems from not pursuing those things that really give meaning to our lives.  If you want to change your life, what’s stopping you?  Can you start small, and build from there?  We have an unlimited capacity to improve our own lives, even in just the tiniest ways, and happiness will stem from there, if only we try.

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By working on ourselves we can create our own happiness, and from there, we can change the world.  How can our own happiness change the world?  By bringing happiness into the world, we bring kindness to others, creating a new compassion for others.  Your changes help transform the world you live in.  It’s a pond with ripples radiating out into the rest of the pond where it eventually hits the shore and continues on from there.