Taking A Breath For Others

By the time you read this, I will have thankfully celebrated another year of life.  But it’s funny.  A fellow Aries and dear friend of mine posted asking if she should choose celebrating her birthday just as she would like, or should she schedule a business meeting. What a great question. This is a choice so many of us make, not only on our birthday, but every day of the year.  I so empathized with her because she asked this question of her friends, explaining that she was exhausted.  She said she needed a day off.  Not only was she managing her family, but she was out hustling every day, running her business, earning herself and her family a beautiful new home.  This powerful woman seemed, in this moment, to be asking our permission to please allow her one day to enjoy the fruits of her labor, by herself, with no kids and no demands; just one day to rest.

She’s not alone.  So often there is little room for ourselves on our To-Do list.  Or as seemed true for my friend, we can be easily pushed off our list by the demands and expectations of others.    Our responsibilities to our families, our work, school, and friends are real and so important.  But more essential is our responsibility to ourselves.  “Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others”.  When hearing this during my travels, I always understood this…until I became a mother.  Then it seemed crazy to me.  It seemed ridiculous to consider putting myself before my children.  To me it was as if they were suggesting I should value my life more than theirs.  But now I get it.  I know that my purpose on this earth is absolutely to love and serve others.  But now I know that means making a commitment to myself FOR others.  That means doing my best to do the things that serve my health and wellbeing as much as I can and as often as I can FOR my family, work and friends.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.  In fact, I think it’s necessary.

When you dive in the deep end there’s a limited supply of oxygen available to you.  I don’t know if you’ve ever surfaced a second later than you had hoped or intended, but I have.  It’s scary. For a moment, it can feel as though you aren’t going to make it.  It can feel like no matter how hard you try, there’s not enough air in your lungs to get there.  I’m sure my friend would say that I’m being dramatic, but that’s what came to mind when reading her post.  With this business opportunity, the surface of the water was rising, just at the moment when she needed to breathe.  It was almost as though she was asking for help in applying her own oxygen mask.  But instead, as she put it, she was advised to “suck it up” and “keep working”.  After all, she could “celebrate her birthday any day”.  She described feeling “shocked, dismayed and disappointed” by the advice of her friends.  I did not know it existed, but she adeptly used “the finger” emoji and agreed to do just as they suggested.  She would take the appointment.

There’s still time.  Her birthday is actually next week.  Despite what she said, I am anxious to see what she ultimately decides.   In the meantime, her post reminded me and inspired me to commit to my birthday…to myself.  That settled it – a massage (at Elements Massage and Skincare), a nap, and a yummy but nourishing dinner with my family.  Not for me, but for them.  You’re welcome.  Happy birthday to me.

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