Lessons Learned – It’s Not Selfish to Fulfill Your Own Needs

As a writer, I spend part of every day alone.  Writing is simply not a group activity. When I’m back in the U.S. with my family, I spend all of every day with various family members or friends.  Writing doesn’t happen often. While I wouldn’t trade the special time I get with everyone, my alone-time is pretty much non-existent.

In 1955, Anne Morrow-Lindbergh, wife of the famous flyer, but force-majeur in her own right, published the book Gift from the Sea. In it, she contends that women in particular need to rejuvenate themselves.  Women put so much into other people that they need time for simple replenishment so that they continue to be able to give to others.  In other parts of the book, she advocates for turning off the radio and listening to the people and natural sounds around you.  She takes the reader through the stages of a woman’s life and points out the things about which women have to be cognizant in their lives.  She talks about the child-rearing years and then the retirement years – all in one book. Her son writes a moving afterward about his mother, her ideas and her accomplishments.  All of the things she discusses in the book are just as relevant today, in 2011, as they were then, more than 55 years ago.

The reason this is important is that women should not feel selfish for asking for what they need.  I need the time alone every day – be it an hour before everyone else gets up, or leaving the group to go to bed early.  I am much more functional this way.  I have known this for a long time, but it has seemed selfish to ask my friends and family, for whom I’ve traveled great distances, or who have traveled great distances for me, for some time away – alone.  Well, that’s over.  I am sure that in the long run, the visits will all turn out better if I have my time to proverbially replenish myself every day – at least most days.

In reality will I be able to do this?  I have no idea.  But I am going to try.  There are five months until summer.  When summer arrives, I will be spending long weeks in the company of others.  I am really going to try to put my plan into practice.  It will make the time all that much better for everyone involved.  Good luck to me.

Beyond my own personal goals, though, I wish I could encourage all women to think long and hard about what would make even one aspect of their lives easier – and then ask for it.  It’s not selfish.  It makes you a fuller, better person to be aware of yourself and then do what needs to be done to fulfill those needs.

Lecture over.  Go have a wonderful weekend.