Friendship is a funny thing. You can go for years and never make a new friend because you are perfectly content with the ones you’ve had your whole adult life and then in the blink of an eye, you are suddenly surrounded by a whole group of people you would never expect. I recently had an experience like this. My friends, Crystal and Liz, and I have been friends for 20+ years. I have other friends that I’ve had for a while and I’ve made a few new ones here and there, but the older you get the harder it is especially if you are a woman. And women know this. The three of us get together on a group text regularly. A couple of weeks ago, Liz went out of town aka out of contact with our group text for a few days and Crystal, apparently feeling bad and assuming that I was all alone in the world (I totally was, Crystal), invited me in to another group text that she has with some ladies in North Carolina, where she lives. I was a little hesitant at first because these people send their kids to a private school and they all have husbands and I’m all over here single as fuck cussing like a sailor. I actually don’t even know what possessed her to trust me in their group. It’s not like I know how to bite my tongue or show tact 90% of the time. I mean, I can when it counts, but like I said, I was a little reserved when I got voted in. Yes, I actually had to be voted in. You can’t just let any asshole off the street into your texting circle of trust. That stuff is in writing. It can be used against you in a court of law. I think. So I am introduced via text message and basically we all become fast friends and have a really grand time texting. Crystal makes slut jokes about me, I make prude jokes about her. Her friends wonder if I am a compulsive liar or does this stuff really happen to me? Good times. So as the days go on, I am seeing a running theme in all these text messages. At some points it was kind of like eavesdropping because I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about but I didn’t want to interrupt and be like, “Could you start from the beginning?” because that’s just rude so I just listened to (read) the conversations.
Back to the running theme….These women are amazing and don’t take near enough time for themselves. And then I think of all the other women that I know who have kids and husbands. And then I think of how I was when I had young kids. My daughter says I don’t count because I made time to go out partying and slutting it up (my words, not hers, I think), but I was never married. Well, that one time, for a year, when I was 18, but that doesn’t really count. But even in the very few brief times I was in a relationship, I lost myself every time. I think you have to be really confident and in touch with yourself before you get into a relationship to continue to be who you were when you got in, otherwise, I feel like everyone is in danger of losing themselves. Women, more so than men. So I offered Crystal some advice. Not that anyone in their right mind should take my advice, but sometimes I have these moments of clarity and this was one of them. I have a lot of “ME” time. I meditate in the morning before I get out of bed. I read while I’m waiting for the bus. I read while I’m on the bus. I take myself out to eat now that I’ve gotten over the distaste for eating alone. I go on long walks alone. I’m alone a lot, but my kid is 14 now and doesn’t really need me and I go through rollercoaster dating phases where I date, date, date and then I come to the harsh realization that I’m nit picky and impossible to please and possibly impossible to love because of the previous and then I have a long stretch of being alone. So I’m very familiar with “ME” time and I know myself pretty well. So I suggested to Crystal that she needed some “ME” time because she takes care of her kids, her husband, she volunteers for EVERYTHING… and it seems like all her friends are the same way. I gave her a “ME” time challenge and I wanted to get it in writing so she can share it with her tribe and also because I think it’s a brilliant idea and I think everyone in the world should participate so here it is :
The Me Time Challenge
When: The Month of April
Who: You, Your Mom, Your Sister, Your Friends, The World
Where: Wherever You Are
What: Remember what you used to love before you started loving everyone else more than yourself? Start doing that!!
One hour per day just for you: a walk, a bike ride, shopping, window shopping, a cooking class, a cake decorating class, an art class, a dance class, dancing in the living room, reading a book, taking a bubble bath, writing, working out, doing yoga, getting a pedicure, church, whatever you can do in an hour each day, do it. And on the weekend take three hours (all at once) to be with your friends or by yourself, whichever you choose.
Things that are not allowed during your one or three hour time: napping (you have to be awake for your “me time”), talking about your kids and husbands/wives/lovers/partner, doing or buying anything for them. The hour is for you, not anyone else.
I feel like when you take time to do things that make you happy, you become a better mother, wife, lover, partner, friend, person. You remember all the things you love, all the things you don’t love, you find a little part of you everyday that will pick you up and get you feeling like yourself again. I know this is not my usual foul mouthed, out of left field kind of post, but you women are amazing and the amount of work you put into making everyone’s lives run smooth should not be overlooked. Do not overlook yourself. Love yourself.