As previously seen on Wit & Delight
Our June & July theme is all about allowing ourselves to indulge in the simple pleasures that many of us rarely make time for amidst the pressures of everyday life. In that spirit, today we’re sharing a post from 2017 via contributor Ashley Paguyo El Shourbagy. Ashley writes about setting boundaries with her energy and schedule, and the importance of taking time for yourself.
It’s Friday night and I have big plans. I transition from week into weekend through a full production of getting ready. After work, I shower and prep for the night ahead, except I linger a little longer under the shower head, steaming the bathroom up to its full potential. I even use my expensive, fancy shampoo. Dousing myself in lightly scented sesame oil, I take a deep breath and say in an exhale, “I am so excited for tonight.”
Except, tonight, I’m staying in. No toddler, no work, no obligations. I could be anywhere, but I’ve enthusiastically selected the company of my couch over any other environment, companion or entertainment option.
Instead, I’m taking myself on one hell of a date. I’m honing my self-care. Currently lounging in a bathrobe, I await the delivery of some delicious Indian food, followed by an amuse-bouche of daily vitamins laid just so before a steaming cup of golden milk. I find enjoyment in fixing these capsules in a pattern on the table before throwing them down the hatch one by one, taking my sweet time. I draw myself a pitcher of water, pouring glass after glass into wedding crystal cups and I think, What did I do to deserve such simple luxury?!
I’ll tell you what I did: I got over my FOMO a long time ago and traded it in for content in the form of a plush house slipper.
I made a sacred ritual out of the Art of Staying In. And, in doing so, I now find going out to be more exhilarating, while staying in has also improved into a more thrilling experience. Why? How? Because, now, wherever I am is exactly where I want to be. It’s a deliberate choice and it allows for a natural and harmonious balance of socialization and independence.
For example, when considering an invitation to do something, I stop and weigh, “Will this be fun or will this be draining?” Here, I really listen to my gut. I’ve become somewhat protective of my energy, which has resulted in more discerning socializing. The results? The quality of the time spent with friends has improved in ways I couldn’t foresee. I am a better listener, a livelier conversationalist, more adventurous, and overall more present. I don’t take this time together for granted and, in return, have a deeper appreciation for friends generously sharing their free time with me. If I’m out and about, I have left my creature comforts behind with great intention to catch up with pals, to see a show that I’ve been looking forward to or to experience something that I have warranted is worth putting on pants for.
I’ve become somewhat protective of my energy, which has resulted in more discerning socializing. The results? The quality of the time spent with friends has improved in ways I couldn’t foresee.
*The “is it worth putting on pants?” test can also be applied to lots of life’s great dilemmas such as job postings, grocery shopping, and screening suitors when online dating – feel free to use it!
I find it hard to enjoy nights out or time with friends when I don’t occasionally set aside time to take inventory with myself. I’m trying really hard not to stuff my weekends to the gills. One’s free time should be restorative and grant the courage to get up and go again, not drain a bank account, zap energy or add anxiety about what to wear/where to go/what to Instagram. Today, I check in with myself more than ever before. I am much more aware of my energies and my in-the-moment desires. I meet myself where I am. As I mature, I’m eliminating “shoulds.” I don’t say “I should go to bed.” I just go to bed. Sure, my nights “in” results in an obscene amount of SVU marathons and Game of Thrones binges, but, damn, I love my couch and have yet to regret taking a night off to do seemingly nothing.
So, back to my current CrazySexyCool self-date. What’s tonight’s pièce de résistance, you ask? A soak in the tub while reading a self-help book. Not in a sad, “fix me” kinda way. But more of a “how do I level up?” Also, if you’re wondering about all this bathing in one short night, the shower was to invigorate and wash away the day, the bath is to melt into the weekend – DUH. There is something so magical about diddling about in the privacy of your own home. I invite you to look beyond the bastardization of the word “hygge” and craft your ideal night “in” one weekend soon!
Make an event out of staying in. Light a candle. Use your fine china. Or pick up a bouquet of flowers to gaze upon while binge-watching Golden Girls. Sitting on the couch can be a sexy experience and should include an element of delight in your self-care.
Uncover the motive. Feeling pangs of exclusion? What is driving this longing to participate in the outing du jour? Ask yourself: do you miss your friends or do you feel like you’re missing out on getting “credit” for being at a “cool” event? Not to get all KonMari on you, but does the thought of attending tonight’s social hour spark joy or evoke dread?
You can always change your mind. Think you’ve made a grave mistake? The night is young and so are you! In the event that you contract a case of cabin fever, trade PJs for party pants and get out on the town! Home should be a refuge and your couch a cuddle buddy. Don’t punish yourself if there’s somewhere you’d rather be!
BY Ashley Paguyo El Shourbagy - June 2, 2019
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.