Balancing our needs

In her introduction for this week’s Sex Bloggers for Mental Health, Catherine links to my post from last week about priorities. As she highlights, I wrote about the need to balance my and our needs with those of others. For this week’s prompt Catherine asks: but how?

For me, the realisation that a rebalance is required, comes after some kind of crisis. It may just be a moment of stress or some kind of over dramatic meltdown (oh yes, I can be a drama queen).

We are lucky. Our lives don’t any longer revolve around the needs of others. Just of ourselves. We don’t have dependents living with us, nor do we have parents or children living close. But there in lies the slight problem. On one hand we don’t have anyone turning up unexpectedly, but on the other hand, we do need to plan. We can live our own lives spontaneously but interaction with others needs planning. And sometimes we either get the planning wrong, get let down or else have to drop everything for the needs of others. This is kind of what happened at Christmas. My careful planning went wrong, because stuff outside of our control happened and then stress occurred.

Many of us try to control everything around us much too much. I and we are no exception to that. It is in my nature to try to please everyone and by doing so, I end up making myself unhappy. Master needs time of solitude and actually I need that alone time too. But both of us also need to engage with others. He claims he doesn’t; but then suggests going to a munch because he wants to be sociable. When I say we are going to spend an evening with my son or brother he pulls a face, but then enjoys it. Certainly before he met me Master spent far too much time alone and admits now that was not good for him. He claims he dislikes people, but I don’t think he really does, but he definitely needs not to be with others all the time.

That may reflect our different personalities. Me, the extrovert who likes to be with people and he the introvert who lives in his own mind much of the time. But, that’s too simplistic. I find meeting new people difficult. I don’t like noisy places as I can’t shut off from people’s conversations. It’s often he who suggests we go out to meet people and I who would rather stay home.

We both have elderly parents, and the possibility of a call is always there. I know that I will be required at some point to go and help out. My mother is frail and prone to falls. But while she is well and mobile I will keep to my fortnightly visits and support my brother who lives nearby as best I can.

My own brush with ill health and the desire to live my best life right now dictates how I makes sure there is balance. That I do the things I want and need. For example that I take exercise, even if Master isn’t joining me. That we go to new places and see what the world has to offer us. I am lucky to have retired from full time work at such a young age, but I know how easily the freedoms I am afforded could be snatched away. So, with that in mind we put ourselves first. But try to remain mindful of those that surround us.