Taking care of yourself is something that should always be a priority. But when you have a husband, children, a household to run, a job to do, groceries to buy, chores to do (or in my case not do) before you know it, you're on the bottom of the totem pole. I realized this was happening to me not too long ago, and it had been happening for many years. How in the world did I allow this to happen? Why did I forget that I'm important too? I should be first in my life coming second only to God.
Too many people think that putting yourself first means not caring about other people, or they confuse instant gratification with happiness. That's not it at all. To put yourself first in the right way should be your goal. Health mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, those are the key ingredients of the happy gumbo. At 30 I am just now learning this and trying to put myself first, but in the right ways. It has taken me four years just to put my health first. As I've stated in a previous entry, I love the way I look, appearance is not what I'm talking about in physical health. What I mean is to be active, however you like. For me, I love to swim, I love the feeling of water all around me as I cut through it like a knife. Albeit a slow moving dull knife, but still a knife. I also love to walk. I could walk for hours, just thinking or bopping my head to some 90's hip hop. Doing something physical that makes me really happy.
"If Mom's not happy, no one's happy" is often tossed around and is as true as can be. (Granted the same is true for men/dads/husbands, but I'm a woman, so this is my point of view.) If I am no good to myself, then I will never be any good to anyone else. I wouldn't be a good or caring wife and mother, or daughter, sister, friend, cousin, neighbor etc. I would still be the scowl faced sad eyed woman that I was not too long ago. My neighbor told me about a dream she had about me before I started really putting myself first (again, in the right ways). She told me how the dream disturbed her, and I'm glad she did. Hearing about her dream and concern for me made me realize that my unhappiness had drifted all the way across the street and into her REM state causing nightmares. I had realized that I was last for far too long. I felt like I didn't exist anymore and was running on fumes. So, I decided to change immediately.
The first step was to get help. So, I found someone to talk to, and that's not easy for many people to admit, but I have no problem saying "Life's been a little rough, I need help". I made sure I had support from my loved ones and gave myself enough breaks to decompress. My second step was to put my health first, because without your health you can't function. The changes have been dramatic. No, I didn't become a size 6 since my last few entries. But I no longer feel like a slave to my own life. I no longer feel like I'm just going through the motions instead of actually living my life. It's like I was on autopilot for the last few years, and in a few months I took back the steering wheel of my life. I may not be able to do everything I want, but I'm making sure I do what I need to. Step three I'm still working on as well as steps one and two, because you see, I need maintenance. We all do. Why is it we'll maintain a car, a home, a bank account, but not ourselves? My car had to be more important than me right?
I know I make mistakes, but a big part of growing is to learn from them. I have always tried to learn from my mistakes, but I wasn't learning from the greatest mistake I was making. I was ignoring me. And in ignoring me I was ignoring life itself. I've always been a great advice giver, and I finally decided to take my own advice for once. I was tired of complaining about the same things for the last four years. I missed me, I missed my smile, I missed my laughter, I missed my happiness and joy. I still have quite a road ahead of me, but I'm feeling more and more optimistic of the outcome. Equipped with my happiness gumbo, I'm working my way back to the top of the totem pole.