Thursday, July 24, 2008

To the proponents of "Me-Time".

It seems like I seem to be having the same conversation over and over again with women from the older generation. At the end of the conversation they always give me the same piece of advice. Because I am polite and respectful to them, as my elders, I don't say what I'm thinking. So here are my thoughts.

The scene begins this way: I am talking to a lady in her mid-fifties and she begins to ask about me and my life. I tell her that I am really into politics, that I own a small business, and that I plan to, sometime in the future, pursue a degree in political science. This always impresses, for what reason I have no idea. In any case, the lady begins to view me as the future of the next generation, the girl who will save America. What happens next is that she invariably asks me if I plan to pursue a career in politics.

What I generally tell her is this, "Yes, to some extent, for sure. I view it as a very good way to spend my single years. But eventually I'd like to get married and have a family. So, of course, once I do that I probably won't be as politically active in the sense that I won't be holding public office and such. Mostly it depends on how politically active my husband chooses to be." I can see it in her eyes, the despair. She thought I was the perfect independent young lady, the FUTURE! But no, I'm just another one of those brainless, mindless girls who is planning to put her whole life in the hands of some evil, overbearing ape who is out to ruin her success and happiness. "Oh" she says "I see."

Then comes the advice. "Well, you know, having a family is all well and good. But you need to be sure you are taking time for yourself as well. You need to be your own person. You need "You-Time" or you won't be a happy, fulfilled person." My usual reply is generally something like this "Yeah, I've heard that before from other people." (And honest, respectful reply.)

But inside I am in uproar. I am always tempted to be impudent and smart. (A temptation that, I'm afraid, is ever-present.) I am so tempted to say "ME-TIME! Good grief woman! I have had never-ending "me-time" for the past nineteen years! I've had nineteen years of being alone, of having no one to totally confide in, of having no one to help and be useful to. I've had nineteen years to being torn between authorities within my own family, nineteen years of independence! I think I'm ready for some freaking "NOT-ME-TIME"!" If I have to hear one more person tell me I need "me-time" I think I'm going to either scream, puke, or do some strange combination of the two.

I really am grateful that these ladies care enough about me to take the time to give me advice. But I seem to observe that these ladies tend to be the ones who are divorced, who rarely see their children, and don't appear to be very happy in life. Meanwhile, the ladies that I really respect and wish to emulate, the ladies who have long lasting, beautiful marriages, good relationships with their kids, and appear to be generally happy, (I can name about 3 such women off the top of my head.) would never give me such selfish advice.

Doesn't it make sense to listen to the women who are truly successful and happy rather than women whose lives have been a wreck and are a mass of bitterness?

5 comments:

  1. You said it!

    I know the feeling. I've never been advised to take "me-time" by divorced ladies, but I'm often told what to do with my life by complete strangers of all ages. It either sounds like this "You could be famous if you keep doing __________. Don't ever stop!" Or it sound like this "How are you going to make a living playing music? You should be a doctor or a lawyer because they always make money."

    I don't understand why strangers are so eager to dish out life advice. Friends almost never do that.

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  2. I still remember when many years ago I had a visit from my grandmother and two of her friends. They all said how wonderful our farm was and how wonderful the children were and how wonderful it was that we were home educating. Then they asked Katie (about 9 years old at the time) what she wanted to be when she grew up. She answered, "A Mommy".
    Then I'm sure they forgot to think before they replied, "Oh, but don't you want to DO SOMETHING with your life?!" I was standing right there and it was like a total slap in the face.
    Lizzie, you are wise beyond your years.

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