I know how I am in my home.
I am the girl who does either one of two things: clean and organize and be uber productive or lay on the couch watching bad reality T.V. or scrolling through my social media feeds.
So if I have to do something that’s not cleaning, organizing, or scrolling through the answers of the latest Buzzfeed quiz friends have taken, it’s hard for me to concentrate. Which sounds like an excuse, and it is. I should be able to focus and have some amount of discipline. But when you’re a bona fide neat freak, it starts with noticing a crumb on the floor. And then you go to the kitchen to get the sweeper vac when you notice a few dishes in the sink. And then you think, Why DON’T I put that load of laundry that’s sitting in the washing machine to run? And before you know it, you’ve taken every single dish out of your cabinets to rearrange them with all the cups you took out.
Not that I would have experience with that, or anything.
And so, knowing my limits–or rather, limitations–I packed up my bags and headed to my neighborhood Starbucks to spend a few hours working on some research I needed to gather. I’ll admit, mainly I headed there because every time I walk into one, I want to be one of the cool people with their laptops open furiously writing in their notebooks as they study or talk business. As a college commuter, I did not get that experience. I went to school and drove back home. Home, literally, was always where my heart was. It was worth the few bucks I spent on bottled water, just to say I was a customer, to grab that cozy corner table and their free Wi-Fi. I’m not saying I didn’t check Facebook or email; but without the temptation to clean or put something away, I gave a good few hours toward this project I need to get done. Ah, it felt good.
I don’t want my title to be mis-leading. I read in a book recently–or maybe it was a blog post or comment–a response to this notion of needing “me” time. The person stated it was a lie and it was selfish. I never thought of it that way, and it made me pause. I can see where this person is coming from. Society pats us wives and mothers on the back (and men too!) and tells them they deserve to escape their homes, their families, essentially their lives in the name of mental health. We’re quickly urged to book that massage or plan that girls night out. While I don’t think those things are inherently wrong in and of themselves, I can see how a sense of entitlement can creep in when we becomes dissatisfied with our everyday lives and feel we have somehow earned, or deserve, the chance to escape. So I’m on the fence because while I agree we do need alone time, I do not want to cause anyone to stumble who may not actually be able to do that. I’ve been there!
My great escape is simply knowing that there are things I have to do and knowing the best place to do them. In my case, I do have the “luxury” of a couple of days off a week and so the things I need to do on those “off” days may not all need to be done in the home. If I had a baby or young child, I’d probably be tied to my home as most of my young mom friends are.
So this post won’t necessarily be for my young mama friends (sorry!), but just an encouragement to those in other stages of life that sometimes it’s worth it to treat yourself to a cup of coffee (even if it costs a ridiculous five bucks) to set your mind on things besides the plates in the sink and the whites in the dryer that needed to be folded, like, yesterday.
Some of my best research, reading, devotional, and “quiet” times have come from the outside. And, again, that doesn’t mean I do not need to learn how to be disciplined in my home. For the most part, I am. But it’s those special “treat” days that I get to look forward to that help along the way.
So maybe I still don’t know if I agree with “me” time or not. But I will vouch for knowing the environment you work best in and working it out with those in your life to get there.