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Me time

It’s my time

manuelita otero

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Have you ever wanted to do something that you knew would make you very happy, but it seemed a little crazy, a little impossible, and maybe even a little selfish? I don’t know if it comes with the territory of being a mom, but for years many of my decisions were made thinking about my children first. It would happen automatically and it worked out great. I never felt I neglected myself, and I don’t regret it for a minute. I lived every moment to the fullest. I enjoyed my children when they were babies. I was happy to drop them off at school, make their lunches, pick them up and take them to their afternoon activities. I loved going to my daughter’s rehearsals and my son’s tennis practices. As they got older I loved driving them around, listening to their stories, meeting their friends, picking them up from dances, and making late snacks. And as they started to focus on their passions I loved seeing them dream big and work hard. But life goes on and children grow and as they do they need their parents in different ways, so when my daughter said that she wanted to do a summer acting course at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and she wanted me to go with her I immediately accepted. It could have been the protective mother in me wanting to be close to her as she traveled abroad, or the traveler in me who won’t miss an opportunity for a trip, or it could simply be me who wanted to spend a month without cooking, cleaning, driving anyone around and just doing what I wanted. Sounds a little selfish? Maybe, but I  think we should all be able to take some time on our own, time to think, to walk aimlessly for the joy of walking, and to allow curiosity define the route. I am aware of the luxury it is to take one month away, especially in London! I know the blessing it was and I know how God made the impossible possible.

The funny thing is how I approached it at the beginning. I felt embarrassed. As people asked me “Are you going?... For the whole time?” I would feel guilty saying yes and the next question was always “What are you going to do?” I felt I needed a “to do” list so it would be ok for me to go, as if just going because it was an amazing opportunity wasn’t enough. I started making a list of all the things I was going to do: Work on a book I started the last time I visited London, finish the review of the book that we are publishing soon, writing blogs and taking photos for Happily, taking visuals for my daughter’s music video… the list could go on because that’s my nature, to do, to be productive, to use time wisely. But as the trip approached I decided that I could make a lot of plans for my trip, but my main goal should be no plans. It was ok to tell people that I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew it was going to be amazing. Doing “nothing” is ok once in awhile and I really feel this is my time. My children are grown, I have my job, I have some free time, I have finally learned to truly enjoy being me. I am comfortable in my own skin. All these things took time, sacrifice, effort, and some tough lessons so I am celebrating now.  

How was my trip? It was unbelievable! I loved being on my own, and I loved being there when my daughter would come home after class excited talking about all she had learned. I loved being able to manage my time, to simply sit and watch people go by and write and write and write. I loved going to museums day after day to see the same paintings because each day I would notice something different and because I could take the time to find it. I loved the long walks, the al fresco dinners (sandwich at a park), the amazing architecture, the well known sites and the hidden streets. I loved doing nothing and I loved doing it all.

Maybe taking a month off to go to a far away place is not that easy, maybe a day, half a day, or an hour is more realistic. It’s more a decision and an attitude than anything else. Ready to make this your time?

Manuelita @manuelitaotero

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