Shayne on You: Make the time to find your own joy

Dear Maggie,

I really need some “me-time.” I have kids, a job, and a house to keep up, and it seems like there’s just not enough of me to go around. If there’s ever any free time from work or kids’ activities, I spend it checking in on my family. There’s never a time when my aging parents don’t need something from me. And I love them dearly and would never refuse to help them out.

But I feel like I’m starting to disappear in all of this. I can’t remember the last time I spent time alone, just doing something for me, something I really want to do. I don’t even know for sure what I would want to do if I did find the time.

Help me figure out how to get some free time in my life.


The Busy Woman

Dear Busy Woman,

Your problem is one shared by so many women these days. And a lot of men, too. Our kids are so busy, and our lives demand so much from us that there’s just no time left.

Or so it would seem. But looks can be, and are, deceiving.

Remember that we really are in control. We really can create our lives the way we want them to be. Believing that, knowing it, is half the battle.

So you’ve identified what you want. Two years ago I identified the same thing. I wrote it down – “I want to be able to do more work in less time, and have more free time for having fun.” Because having fun is so vital in life. Think about it. Talk to someone who’s lived 80 or 90 years and ask them what they wish they’d done more of or less of in their lives. There’s not one who will say they wish they had spent more time working and less having fun. So that’s first, realizing that having fun is just as important as working. It’s not irresponsible. It’s not goofing off. It is, in fact, our purpose in coming to the planet – to experience and relish life as a physical being.

Next, you have to realize that you are the most important person in your life. “Selfishly seek joy,” says one of my favorite spiritual sages. “For unless you are in your joy, you have nothing to give to anyone.” You need to be happy first. It will make everyone in your life happier if you are. It’ll make strangers you encounter on the street happier if you are. Honest! Happiness is contagious. This isn’t something to feel guilty about. It’s as essential as brushing your teeth.

So repeat these thoughts, and keep adding to them, and start seeing how vital and healthy it is to do things for yourself, to take time for yourself. And then keep telling the Universe that you want more time to do those things. And believe that time is available, and don’t try to figure out how it will come or where it will fit, because that’s not your job. You don’t think about how to make the planet turn or the seasons change, or how to be sure gravity will keep us from floating away. You don’t have to. The Universe manages just fine. It can manage to grant you more down time.

Trust it. Start looking for it, and it will appear. Make time for you a priority. Start small – ten minutes of meditation in the morning. Twenty minute walks in the afternoon. A half hour soak in the tub before bed. Something. The more you focus and trust and relax about all of this, the faster it will come to you.

Good luck!


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