Friday, January 14, 2011

My Space

 I sit at the desk in my office—actually the second bedroom in our new apartment. We’ve lived here for over a month, and still boxes and furniture vie for attention. The most important rooms were, of course, unpacked first. The “extra” room, AKA my office, was at the bottom of the unpacking list. “I have a laptop, I can write in the living room,” I told myself. And myself actually believed it. For a while.

Eventually I became a bit, well, obsessed. All I could think of was the room that was going to be my office. It looked a lot like a storage facility, and my desk was on the opposite wall of where I wanted it. I began to spend a lot of time in there, moving boxes, emptying things. My husband and I moved the big bookcase to the corner where it was going to live. And I moved books there, emptying boxes as I went. The kitchen began to need more attention than it was getting, and the bathroom needed more cleaning than I took time to give it. But my office was finally beginning to take shape. With my sweet youngest daughter’s help, I finally got my desk to where it needed to go (and I got to see my grandkids while I was at it!). A few days later, and I put the books and notepads and pens, etc back on my desk. I had my space back.

I know if I looked behind me right now, I’d see boxes that need emptying. And to my right is a pile of random things that needs attention. Still, I’m sitting at my desk, typing on my laptop. YEAH! I feel so much better. Last night, I even considered what I needed to do with my work in progress. Ideas are starting to swirl in my head for the first time since we discovered we were going to have to move. I love the feeling of slipping back into the world of my manuscript.

What’s the moral of this story? That I needed my own space. Yeah, I could have survived without it, but I wasn’t at my best. Many times we put our own needs and desires at the bottom of the list. Everything else seems more important, but I’m beginning to realize that if I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of others either. When I was at the bottom of my own list, I was irritable and bitchy. I needed my space. The place where I’m simply a writer.

I would like to point out, the way some people talk about taking care of ourselves seems to mean not taking others into consideration. I’m not advocating that kind of selfishness. The kitchen really was more important and my attention had to go there first. I don’t think we have to be at the top of our own lists, we just need to be on there. And not at the bottom either. I can take time away from my own life to take care of the grandkids, or go somewhere with my daughter. But I don’t have to allow other people to take over my life, or let things I feel I have to do prevent me from taking time for myself.

This is a hard lesson to learn, or at least it was for me. In fact, it seems I have to relearn it many, many times. I hope you will listen and not be so stubborn. Take time for yourself. I believe Virginia Woolf was right, we each need “a room of one’s own.” Whatever that concept means to you, a room, or an hour, or a comfy chair in which to read or do crafts; make sure you have that space, that “room” where you can be yourself. You deserve it. Honest.

Have a great weekend!