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.

Reflections

This is a time of year for celebration, but also reflection. My blog has been pretty reflective of late, but that doesn’t stop me joining in. This week’s Food For Thought Friday asks the following questions:

When do you feel happiest in your skin?

Whatever the problems of the past few months, I am pretty happy. There are no specific pressures on me and my time. We are spending more time together and there have been few arguments. Over time, we have settled into a routine and things are easy going. It is good to know that we don’t have to go away from home to be together, but do like to do so. Some of our happiest times have been while travelling and there is a lot more of that to look forward to in 2019.

How do you maintain balance in your life? Is there anything you need to change?

Not really. As anyone who reads my blog regularly will know, there have been a lot of changes over the past year or two. It felt as if I was talking about my move for ever, but now it has happened. We have a balanced life and plan to keep it just that way. 

What has been a particularly challenging situation that you have faced? How did you handle it? What did you learn from it?

The break up of my marriage was extremely challenging. Taking place over a protracted period meant that it was very stressful. There are many things that could have been done differently. I should have been clearer with my husband when I no longer wanted to be with him. But managing the emotions of a grown man at the same time as working out how to move forwards is not easy. We are still married to each other and that is the next job. But because he is now living with his new partner in what was our house I believe he is ready for divorce. It has taken over 5 years to get to this place and that is far too long. 

What does it mean to live authentically?

I guess living authentically means being true to yourself and those around you. For so long I lived something of a lie. Even though I knew I was unhappy, I did nothing about it. Fear of being alone and of what others might say, led me to stay in an unhappy relationship. But I can now say that has changed. Family don’t know the nature of the relationship Master and I have, but that doesn’t feel like an issue. We love and care about each other and all can see that. But there is no need to go into details, anyway they definitely wouldn’t understand. 

What are the things that inspire you and how do they work for you?

I am inspired by some of the great writers and bloggers around and I have a desire to try to emulate some of them. Also the way in which people manage to juggle different aspects of their lives. However, I have no desire to continue to be the person I was. There is no longer any need for me to have a full-time job, I have no children to bring up, house to run and family to keep happy. To coin a phrase; been there, done that!

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?

If I could turn the clock back I would get myself to the doctor more quickly and get the lump I had in my breast removed sooner. Then I could have had a lumpectomy and not mastectomy. But, there is no guarantee that those few weeks would have made a difference. In future though, I will put myself before work, packing up a house and all the other things that made me delay. 

The thing that I would like to change though is my weight. 2019 has to be the year I get to grips with shedding some pounds. I’ve been attending a slimming club for 4 years and am only a few pounds lighter than when I started. That is a waste of money. Though I have made some great friends there!

Blogging A-Z 2018: G

This is the third year that I have participated in Blogging A-Z. This year i am going to try to make my topics a little more mainstream. They will, however clearly link to kink and may on occasion be NSFW.

G is for Guilty Pleasures

For so much of my adult life, I had very little time for me. Being a wife, mother, employee, daughter and sister seemed to take up my entire time. The only time when I seemed to take a breath was at weekends and holidays. Even then, so much was packed in and still the caring element went on. Now, my life is different, but I still feel guilty doing things for just myself. Though I am learning not to.

What are my guilty pleasures?

The biggest one is my blog. Whole hours go by writing and editing, reading and commenting. Suddenly I realise that I haven’t eaten, or else done any of the other things I had planned. Less interesting things such as house work. As I write this, I have a niggling feeling I should actually have my vacuum cleaner out doing something far more productive.

Other guilty pleasures include drinking wine and eating good food, sometimes with Master and sometimes alone. Staying home when I feel I should be visiting my mother. The list goes on. But Master has taught me it is ok to put yourself first, so long as I also consider him and everything else in planning what to do.

How much time do I spend doing things for myself?

That depends on the day of the week and what else I have to do. On week day evenings I have from when I get home at around 6 to 10 when Master and I Skype together. If we are together, then that of course changes. But we usually take time to follow our own interests even then.

Until recently all of my days off were taken up visiting my mum and taking her shopping etc. Now she lives further away, I have cut the frequency but factor in an over night stay. So far this is working well and gives me the balance I need. At weekends Master and I are usually together, and try to balance being busy with down time. We both need our own space.

Do I feel guilty about time just for myself?

I consider devoting time to my own needs less and less of a guilty pleasure. It is what I and everyone needs to keep them happy, sane and well.