When is the last time that you had real time off? Real time off doesn't just mean time when you don't go into the office… it means time when you feel no rush to do anything, time when you feel like you can take time, and not in specified amounts, to do what you want to do.
Real time off means you don't have to go to the grocery store, or buy your kids clothes, or take them to practice, or fix something around the house (unless that's what you enjoy). You don't have a vacation with a tight schedule, and for that matter, you don't really have any schedule at all… you truly have leisure time.
I can't really speak for ages past, but in the modern day, it seems to be harder and harder to disconnect and take time off from everything. You have demands on your time coming from all sides… your job, your spouse, your kids, family, friends, people trying to sell you something. It just never seems to stop.
You can, of course, make it stop. Your time is your own… no one else can have any of it that you don't give them (short of kidnapping you). It's all a matter of priorities… the higher on your priority list something is, the greater claims it can make on your time.
The problem is that we often forget to put ourselves on our priority list, or if we're there, we're way down near the bottom. We need some of our own time, though.
When you don't get any of your own time, when it's all taken up by the demands of others, you begin to feel drained, and the longer it stays that way, the worse the drain is, until you feel absolutely empty inside, as if you were nothing but a shell. The only way to get over that empty, exhausted feeling is to bump yourself all the way to the top of the priority list and take some time for you.
When you take this time, it doesn't mean you have to sit around and do nothing (although that's a valid choice, as long as it is a choice). You can do anything you enjoy, just don't give yourself a set time limit… don't do something for just an hour, do it until that emptiness starts to fill, or hopefully fills completely, although that might take more than one time.
You can read, go fishing, play basketball, do something creative (write, paint, carve, etc.), or work on something that you enjoy. The key is that it has to be something that you're doing just because you want to, just because you like to do it, not because you feel like it's something you have to do.
It also doesn't have to be alone, as long as having someone with you doesn't make you feel like the time is not your own any more. In particular, I know that I can certainly feel like I have time of my own while still being with my wife. That being said, I do occasionally enjoy some time that is just mine, with no expectations of me at all.
It's been a while for me since I had time that I felt was my own. I've been working a lot of hours, and of course that leaves little time for taking care of all the other things that need taken care of in a life. I think soon I may take the time to grab a pole, go out to a lake, and see if I can find some dinner.
And I think I'll give my wife some time off soon, too… I'll take care of the kids, and give her time to do whatever it is that she wants to do.
That's it… don't forget to put yourself on your priority list for your time. You can thank me afterward
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