When I was growing up, the summer camp I attended had a policy that all campers had to observe daily “Me Time” for an hour or so. We were supposed to use that time to write home, write in journals, read, braid friendship bracelets – basically, to do whatever we wanted to do, so long as it was quiet. I think “Me Time” was more for the counselors than the girls. I know that my group of friends always hated it. I would usually read, but the fact was “Me Time” – ironically – had the effect of cutting into what my friends and I really wanted to be doing, which was sailing. Why should we waste even a moment of good breeze sitting in our tents? But no matter how much we grumbled, our counselors enforced “Me Time” – like I said, probably because they themselves needed some quiet after a morning of supervising a bunch of teenagers pushing each other off boats and shrieking in triumph.
Now that I’m an adult (according to the government, anyway), I cherish my personal time. I even still call it “Me Time.” (Old camp habits die hard.) It’s much scarcer these days, which makes it that much more precious. Between making lunches, getting ready for the day, commuting 50 minutes to work, working a 10+ hour day, commuting 50 minutes home, making dinner, and cleaning up, there are many weekdays that go by where I don’t get nearly as much “Me Time” as I’d like. I try to snatch a few minutes here and there for myself – 15 minutes of meditation to start the day, for instance, or a few Sun Salutations when I get home – even on the busiest days. On weekends, when I have more time, I like to luxuriate in whole stretches of afternoon to myself. I love the feeling of having nowhere to report to, no demands on my time, and being able to just putter around and not worry about anything except for what is going to make me happiest in the moment. Hubby and I are into the stage of marriage where we don’t have to be glued to each other’s sides all the time – we still cherish our together time, but we can each pursue our separate interests without feeling guilty. So I can leave him to his own devices (which usually take the form of a video game) and do something just for me.
Lately, my “Me Time” has consisted of…
…Reading… I’ve always been hip to the joys of sinking into a good book. I can curl up with a book and a pot of tea and be deliriously happy for an afternoon, or longer. At least until the tea runs out.
…French study… Hubby got me Rosetta Stone for our anniversary, since I’ve been wanting to learn French for ages (and especially since our epic trip to France). I loooooooooove it. I try to put in a little time with Rosetta Stone at least 4-5 times per week and to practice by speaking in between computer sessions. (Of course, I’m the only aspiring Francophone in the house, so that means a lot of time spent talking to myself. Fortunately, hubby is used to my strange habits and doesn’t bat an eye when I meander about saying things like “Le ciel est bleu.”) I’ve always loved languages and I’m madly in love with French – I just wish I started studying it in college instead of continuing with German and then dropping it after one semester! Most people probably wouldn’t find language study particularly relaxing, but it’s perfect for me.
…Yoga… I’ve been logging mat time a bit more recently, as part of a quest to get my groove back and kick aside some frustrating personal stuff. I love the feeling of being all stretched out and limbered up after a good practice. I enjoy class but lately I’ve been making yoga part of my “Me Time” and just doing whatever poses come into my head. It’s a new approach for me and I’m having a great deal of fun.
…Music… I’ve played the piano since I was 5, the violin since I was 9, and the cello for the past several years. Very few things relax me like sitting down with an instrument. Lately it’s been the cello more than anything, but I’m hoping that soon I’ll have the time to coordinate the logistics for moving my piano from my parents’ place in New York to my home in Virginia. I miss my piano! In the meantime, I’ve been spending quality time with my cello and Herr Mozart.
…Running… This is a classic, but something I haven’t done in awhile. After my half marathon, I took some time to recover and lost my running groove a bit. I need to get back into it, though. There’s nothing like a good run to boost my energy and clear my head at the same time.
How do you spend your Me Time?