Sunday, 6 February 2022

Date yourself

I've been longer in relationships than not at this point in my life. Almost 20 years with Rich, two previous relationships of 2.5 years each and a few odds and ends in my teens add up to over 25 years at the side of a man. Wow! Still, despite that impressive number there is one relationship I've been in even longer: the one with myself. And that's the one that needs some TLC.

I consider myself to be an independent woman, and Rich and I are by no means joined at the hip. We have travelled independently (and will again), have different hobbies and a few separate friends. 
But there's one thing I haven't done much of: going on dates with myself. 

I've been changing that. I started setting my alarm for 5:30 in the morning to have a slow, cozy coffee date in bed every day where I journal, write, meditate and sip coffee. The dogs are draped all around me, sometimes the cat drops by for a visit, and yesterday I heard our pheasant make its mating call for the first time this year! The aviary is below my window, and in the winter the birds are quiet. That call (plus Tom's shedding) means that the animals sense that spring is coming! It's been wonderful to witness dawn coming a little bit earlier every day, and I've seen some incredible sunrises. 
Those quiet mornings are my favourite part of the day and set the tone for the rest of the day. They have been a real game changer.

Another thing I did was write down everything I want to do. It's a random list that includes learning to enjoy meditation (I'm getting there!), wanting to do public speaking, going on adventures, getting fit again, visiting friends, seeing my sister this year, getting regular massages, and a bunch of other stuff. I pasted that list to my vision board that hangs next to my desk, and I look at it every day. When I know I have a few free days coming up I look at that list and make plans.   

When I make plans to do something I'm treating it like I treat plans with other people: I write it in my day planner, I get ready, and the most important part: I don't cancel on myself. In the past I would drop everything whenever work asked me to come in. I didn't consider plans with myself as important, so I would cancel them all the damn time. I wouldn't do that to other people, but I didn't think twice about doing it to myself. 
The result of that was that I got stressed out, short-tempered, and close to burnout several times over my career. It was such a difficult lesson for me to learn to say no that it took years before I got it. 

But I finally did. These days when I've made plans to write all day, or to go skiing, or to take the dogs for a long hike, I don't cancel them. If work calls I can honestly say that I have plans. Because I am just as important as other people, and I don't want to let myself down anymore. 

People often say, "I'm just at home, I might as well work", and that used to be my attitude as well. It's a popular way of thinking where the goal seems to be to make as much money as possible to be able to go away on vacation. I don't understand it. 
Most of us have spend a lot of time, money and energy to create beautiful homes, but we spend very little time in them. I love my home, and I want to enjoy it as much as I can! That means I schedule days for cleaning, de-cluttering, and just hanging out in my home. And yes, these are important plans I have no intention of cancelling.

Today I'm doing something I've been wanting to do for 5 years: I'm going downhill skiing, by myself. The only thing that's been stopping me has been that I automatically thought I would have to go with someone. But why? I'm doing lots of things by myself that aren't fun (Pap tests, dentist appointments, grocery shopping), so it's about time to do something alone that IS fun. I'm a little bit nervous (I haven't skied in ages), but I'm also very excited. I've always loved skiing, and fear alone won't hold me back anymore. She can come along for the ride if she insists, but she's not steering the car. 

With Valentine's Day coming up I thought it's a good reminder to show some love to the person that should be the most important one in your life: yourself
That can look like putting on a fancy outfit and taking yourself to dinner, booking a massage, or going to a spa. 
Or in my case, dusting off my Fatty snowblades (yes, I'm a snow skater, not a skier) and taking myself on an adventure date!

Have a lovely Sunday, and don't forget to date yourself. 


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