Anyone who has brought up a family and juggled a career will know that it is next to impossible to find quality time for yourself or for that matter any kind of time, good, bad or indifferent while the kids are small. You snatch at minutes while they are playing in the sand pit and you are interrupted when they start squabbling or fall over or do one of the myriad things that kids do which will take all your patience and sympathy. But we love 'em and wouldn't have it any other way. Then one day they've flown the nest and you have that precious commodity on your hands "time to spend on yourself". I must confess that when it first dawned on me that I was free to go out of an evening without worrying about getting a meal ready or I could get up on a Saturday morning and leave the laundry and cleaning, go shopping or just go to the park, I was mesmerized at all the choices. Like a kid in a toy shop, really, I didn't know what to do first, so I stuck to my old routine. Slowly I began to understand that there was no-one waiting in the wings and I could stay out all day at the weekends and do whatever I liked and if I didn't want a hot meal I didn't have to cook one. I can't say it was bliss, it was just different and took a bit of getting used to. The same thing happened when I first retired. I always had a nagging feeling that something was waiting to be done. It takes time and a good bit of adjustment to make the most of one's leisure hours. It's a skill like any other, I reckon.
For example: I've had a gift voucher for a holistic centre for some time now. I'd look at it now and again and think "yes, I really must book one of those treatments", and then I'd put it off again. Then one grey rainy morning I finally picked up the phone and made an appointment. I booked a Hopi ear-candling session. A friend of mine said it was a wonderful experience. I went along to the centre feeling a bit apprehensive. I am not someone who easily delivers up body and soul into someone else's hands. I like to be in control of things. The ear-candling expert explained what she was going to do and what to expect and made me warm and comfortable on the treatment couch. She was so confident and calm that I soon relaxed. I really enjoyed the whole experience. The biggest question I had to ask myself as I left the centre was why I didn't do this before? Why did I think, deep down, that holistic treatments are a luxury not to be indulged in on a regular basis? I spend money on other treats so why not on something so intrinsically good for me? I've made myself a promise that I will book a neck and shoulder massage next month. It only means picking up the phone. And it feels good to feel good.