Monday, July 14, 2008

Pleasing myself

I've decided lately that when I do things that I want to do, I am inordinately happier than if I do things that other people want me to do.

Not just my husband. Everyone. Family. Friends. Even strangers. I hate doing what other people want me to do.

On the other hand, I love doing what I want to do. I find that I even enjoy chores if it's something I want to do, versus something that has to be done for the sake of the house, the lawn, the dogs, whatever.

I feel like I've given up a lot of my power in letting my desire to please others rule a lot of the time. God, I sound self-helpish. Please don't let me be a cliche.

It's odd because from 2004 until 2006, I was on an absolute quest to have a baby, a baby that I wanted and that pretty much every doctor told me I would not have. I had a singular, tunnel vision kind of outlook on the matter, and I left no stone unturned. I said to hell with everyone who doubted me, and I did what I wanted.

And succeeded. Rather well, in fact.

So what happened? I'm not sure. Well, aside from the obvious - I had a baby. Perhaps I was just tired from navigating such uncharted waters and I got tired. Having a baby will alter every breath of your day when the kid is healthy, let alone when he is not. There is a lot that I do to please him. But it's different - I do that because I want to. Last night I made him laugh so hard he pooped. Without a diaper on. I thought it was fantastic. Not that I wanted him to poop without a diaper, but you get the idea. It is not a chore to make Brody laugh so hard he has to stop so he can catch his breath.

I think a lot of it was caused by adjusting to life with not only a new child, but a child who has a lot of medical issues. I ignored my career, my health, my finances, myself, and my friendships. If it wasn't for book club, there were some months I did not go out at all or do much for myself in any way.

It's not like I was being told I couldn't do anything by anyone. But I definitely. . . got away from myself. I forgot myself. I forgot about things I really like to do. But at the same time I refused to do things I hated doing even if a rational adult would do them. Instead of being a sparkly ocean liner joyfully traversing the wide open waves with abandon, I became the ill-used raft that went with the currents and hoped I didn't drown in the next storm. I was psychically paralyzed staring at my new life, new child, new challenges and unable to move. So I didn't do much at all really. Hence the shambles became.

So now I am going to remember myself more.

I really like the things I used to do. And how I felt doing them. It's an extraordinarily peaceful yet exhilirating feeling to come back into yourself.

We are not talking earth-saving activities here.

But we might be talking Christine-saving activities.

Updates to follow.


Robyn said...

So what are those activities? What do you LOVE to do for YOURSELF?

SaRaH said...

it's amazing isn't it? i've gotten much better at doing what i truly want rather than what i think other want or i 'should' want. An old friend used to say, "Stop shoulding all over yourself. It's gross."