Monday, July 7, 2008

Me First

Like every other human who lives in the twenty-first century, I have a constantly growing and never ending list of things to do, people to see, and places to go. Those things, people, and places conspire to take over all my waking time. I have a significant other, children, and extended family members and friends, clients, judges, opposing counsel, retained and appointed experts, all of whom want a piece of me. I have a home, an office, a car, and a small mountain of personal effects to maintain and manage. The grocery store, department store, drug store, dry cleaner, restaurant, bookstore, library, coffee shop, movie theater, and thrift store beckon, some more seductively than others, all with a sense of urgency.

Over the past year or so, I've noticed that there is one person consistently and notably absent from my to-do lists.

Me. Yeah, me.

Generally speaking, in the last year, if some task has made it onto my to-do list, it's on there because of the needs or desires of some other person. My honey wants to go to a movie. My best friend wants to have lunch. My children need new winter boots. My client needs to talk to me about his case. The judge wants my motion on file by a certain date. We're out of milk, copy toner, deodorant, decaf whole bean house blend. Do I benefit? Certainly -- I love snuggling with my sweetie, connecting with my best friend, feeding and clothing my children, being a competent and capable lawyer, mother, friend, human being. I do these things joyously. (Well, mostly).
But I also know from personal experience that if I don't make my needs and desires a priority, they will be subsumed by the needs and desires of others. As a mother of small children, and as a person in a helping profession, I need to take care of myself first, or I won't be any good for anyone else.

So, in the next few months, I intend to find my way back on to my to-do list, to ensure that every day I engage in some self-care above and beyond the mere basics, to renew and energize, physically, mentally, emotionally -- so that I can get the rest of the stuff on that damned to-do list done. I encourage you to do the same.

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