As an American, I must speak from experience and say that while our society is “individualistic” in nature, we still fall short in the area of tending to ourselves properly. My proof? The rise in obesity, diabetes, depression; the lack of human decency as evidenced through the recent rape of an 11-year-old girl by 28 men; addiction to drugs & alcohol becoming more commonplace, to the point where an emaciated-looking Charlie Sheen’s drug addiction is a joke to the general public. Of course, this is not to sweep his involvement in domestic violence under the rug, but when we get to the root of everything, it goes back to having adequate time to truly deal with self physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I have always been that “go to girl,” the one friends would call up for advice. Even in my Christian day, married, single, gay, straight, all manner of people from all walks of life felt at ease talking to me; and I got in the habit of always being available, an open ear & a shoulder to cry on. As the years passed on, I was seeing progress in many people, but never had the time to deal with my own issues. I’d been wanting to lose weight for years, but could never commit to it. I was your typical critical Scorpio, but never had time to deal with my root issues; I was hungry for my life’s purpose, but never had adequate downtime to figure it out. Now, nearly 6 years after leaving the Christian school & faith, I’m finally realizing that all of my issues go back to discipline, which is tied to “habit,” which is also connected to “time.”
As a child, I had all the time in the world. My parents did the best they could in raising me, but they didn’t enforce the habits of regular exercise, eating healthy, and many other things related to hygiene. Don’t worry, I’m not a total wreck. I’ve done pretty well for myself, considering; but when it comes to exercise, I realize I struggle so hard with working out daily because it was never a habit as a child, a teen or an adult. I’ve always been somewhat spiritually disciplined, which is easier in many ways than being disciplined physically. This may explain why we see so many overweight spiritual people in churches or religious institutions. It’s easy to sit down, read a book, & grow from it, but getting up and exercising is another battle altogether. Now in my late 20’s, I’m having to fight daily to make sure I get exercise. I signed up for Tap Dance Class because I knew I’d have to show up or get an F on my transcript. This was my way of forcing myself to get exercise, and daily I am seeing the benefits, but I had to go to this extreme measure because I lack discipline; and to develop discipline, one must have time.
It takes time to wake up; shower; brush & floss teeth (at least twice daily, as those who floss/brush less than 2/day were shown to have a 77% higher chance of cardiovascular issues), grocery shop, prepare & eat food for breakfast & the rest of the day; keep the domicile spotless; keep the vehicle clean & make car/insurance payments (if this applies); take care of and exfoliate skin; wash, condition, and twist hair; keep the nails & body lookin’ good; work and/or go to school (if this applies); and this list is just for a single person so nevermind adding kids and a spouse or significant other to the list.
I have been reading a few books on money & marketing which have opened my eyes to how important goal setting & habits are to success. Each book suggests the reader should read the material, write down goals, and see those goals becoming a reality DAILY. In other words, make some positive habits, which also develops discipline. I began to realize, as I implemented these suggestions, how everything tied back into discipline, developing habits, & the time to do such. I began spending less time on the phone, less time on Facebook, and more time just sitting and thinking about what I needed to get done. “Time” was revealed to me. I used to think there weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything I wanted to get done accomplished, but as I began to take an honest evaluation of my life, I realized how much time I was wasting. “Time” revealed itself to me and showed me that I could do all I desired with the time (life) given: I just had to manage it properly.
It is my belief, with all of this said, that our society is not individualistic, otherwise we’d have more time for self in the form of vacation & ease of travel; nor is our American society family oriented, because if it were, it would give us more downtime to spend with our families. The American dream, with all it’s pesticide-laden foods, toxic air, and fluoridated water is a façade. Our American way of life is killing us slowly by not giving us the time to take care of our individual needs, and at the same time, attempts to gear us toward a more detached, impersonal, materialistic way of life, getting us further & further away from the concept of community. A true individualistic society would give its citizens time & space to take care of the individual or self, which would then lead to less stress and better overall health for all. How many times have we all heard people say “well, I’d love to walk/jog daily, but I just don’t have the time?”
Time won’t be handed over to us. A system has been put in place, and this system is like a well-oiled machine. It is up to each of us to recognize how necessary developing positive habits and discipline is to our very existence, even if it involves going to some unusual lengths to make it happen so that we can make the most of our time. For me, this means withdrawing from the world & not answering my phone for a few days, weeks, or months, which has caused some of my family & friends to panic. Here is what taking care of self means to others:
@saucy_scribe: You’re in my head sis! I can’t lie. Lately I’m selfish, only wanting to tend to ME, which is fine cos I spent the GREATER part of my life caring about other ppls feelings & what they thought about me. NOT ANYMORE THO.
@AniLacy is a single, stay at home mom who is living happily without a car. You can check out her blog here. What follows are @AniLacy’s thoughts on taking care of self & time:
@AniLacy: And people who don’t do it think it’s strange, they ask me what I do with my time if I don’t have a job, lol, I’m a MOM! If I worked too I’d never read a book, or take a walk, or knit a sweater! As if balance & self-care doesn’t matter. It does big time!