Surprise! I took a detour on the way home! It’s about time! At the ripe of age of 60, I am finally learning how to take care of myself.
When I left work on Monday night, I knew it was high time for a little self-care. I was stressed, rattled and burned out. It was the beginning of my weekend. What could I do to restore my spirit? Piano practice, walk meditation and even a bit of sleep were preempted in a bid to pack, load and get on the road early Tuesday morning. Severe weather warnings forecast snow above 10,000 feet and portions of I-70 I would be traveling. The scenery through Glenwood Canyon was gorgeous. Snow was falling to the west and the east of Vail. Georgetown Visitor Center was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
I lingered there in Georgetown, to fortify my body and emotions for the climb through Bergen Park, Evergreen and finally to the cabin I called home for seven years. I collected my daughter Andrea and her belongings at high noon as previously agreed. 12 o’clock straight up turned out to be lunchtime, so we joined her dad for a quick sit-down meal at Qdoba and then moved forward. At teatime, we dropped in on an old college roommate in Gunnison. We arrived at AEI basecamp at 6:00 p.m. after a few miles of power driving in the mud and were hospitably welcomed by the staff. A quick unload and a nice evening walk through the woods ended up in the chapel with a piano. A walk. A piano. I slept well. Another mountain hike next morning continued the work of beauty and restoration on my spirits so I was not in bad shape at all as I made the descent from Black Canyon to Montrose.
And then, it happened. Spontaneously I made the best decision of the day, I turned left toward Ouray. I checked myself in to the Wiesbaden hot springs and was the only individual in the pool and the vapor cave for nearly an hour. The first dip had my heart and voice crying thanksgiving. Wow.
Proper self-care requires thought and work. Good, intentional choices.
Sometimes, self-care costs a little extra in terms of logic – self-talk to keep yourself from feeling guilty. I was raised not to play until my work was done. Not to take care of myself until I finished taking care of others. I learned early on; my work was never done. Over the years, I discovered the needs of some others were like a black hole – the more care you lavish, the more they need. While self-sacrifice is an essential component of love, self-sacrifice as a goal in itself is not worthy.
When I am not quite at peace for known or unknown reasons, a combination of good choices seems to put me back on the right track. Putting yourself on the right track is the only way to stay fit to care for others or work efficiently.
Good choices in self-care may entail leisure, a vacation, a favorite activity. Many of those activities cost money. So I work, and I work hard, to be able to afford to take care of myself.
This time my little detour cost me about $50. I had to get through the guilt of spending $50 on myself with nothing tangible to show for it.
It would not have been possible to take care of myself in this way – or even support my daughter with transportation – but for my full time job and a difficult choice I made last August. I moved in with roommates.
It was a hard choice, because the solitude of living alone is also a way I care for myself. On the other hand, shared expenses leave more wiggle room for travel and spontaneous detours. What do you need to take care of yourself?
Music? A good book? A hike? Travel? Sleep? A 60-mile detour and dinner out?
Get on with it ! May you be energized by a new perspective!