My search to take care of myself and my own needs continues to be a strong theme in my life; which Caleb Wilde reminded me. I am recognizing that I’m doing too much, giving up too much of my time to others, and not putting my needs first. I have always thought, and still continue to do apparently, that taking care of myself is selfish and that to be a person of good repute I need to help others as much as I possibly can (I attribute this to many of the honestly good moral traits I developed growing up in the Mennonite faith).
Until I no longer can. This part was never really covered in the life handbook until I lost Kevin.
After caring for Kevin for months during his illness, I took a lot of time doing the things I really wanted to do. But then I begun getting involved in giving back to the communities that had helped me – widows and cancer families. 2 summers ago, after breaking my back, I realized I was pushing myself a little too hard, so I gave myself a break and for a year decided to take off from volunteering with these groups to pursue things that I love.
But instead of taking down time, I quickly filled the time that I would have spent doing those things, with other things. Some of it included fun things, but most of it has been obligatory things for friends and family to celebrate their lives. I like being active in my friends and families’ lives, but there also comes a point, like now, when I begin to realize, hey, I have a whole new family now – Dave and I. Somehow making him a priority has become a back seat item for me, and I’m exhausted trying to find time to do it all.
I keep thinking about all these things I want in life:
-Explore more national parks
-Get a cool camper/pop up to get out to these national parks
-Do more camping, fishing, hiking and biking
-Restore the swinging 50s outdoor loveseat in our garage and work on our yard
-Give items to Goodwill or Hold a Garage Sale
These are some REAL goals. While my brain can float around all these other things I can do to fill our time, ultimately these are the places where my brain can seek solace.
It’s time to cancel some items off my list that are more out of obligation than out of my own life passion and pursuits. It’s time to put in some time to get these things done, and if you want to join me, please do. I’m not leaving you behind, I’m asking you to come on this journey of self care with me.
As many widow friends reminded me during my grieving, be gentle with yourself.