Me Time Well Spent

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Me Time Well SpentWell, what can I say: I’m really happy. It is Advent. It is the first of December. I have a bag full of Christmas decorations (on which I spent far too much money) downstairs. I have been truly, thoroughly fucked in the last 48 hours. I wisely gave the majority of this weekend to little me. I lay in bed this morning searching the internet for beautiful Christmas gifts to give to my family and loved ones. I survived a week of hell at work. And for the first time in a long time, I’m not worrying about how I’m going to pay the next bill… because as it turns out I’m kind of good at my job and I have no doubt my probation period will be over very soon. I just have so much to look forward to. So excuse the cliché, but this is just one of those times that really does feel like the first day of the rest of my life.

I could probably easily fill this article with excitement about all the wonderful things that are coming up in the very near future – concerts, cinema outings, birthdays, Christmas, carols, kink, friends… the list goes on and on and on – but I suppose I ought to orientate my writing at least a little towards non-monogamy.

So let’s circle back to that sixth statement: I wisely gave the majority of this weekend to little me.

When you have three partners, and two podcasts, and a full time job, and you’re doing a degree, and you write a weekly column, you basically do not have time to give to yourself. I mean where between reading and writing and working and – yes – fucking is there ever an evening left to just have a bath and watch a film? But it also seems that the more you have going on, the more important it is to find quiet moments for yourself. Which brings me to two points.

The first harks back to something I mentioned in my column Busy Busy Bee: Making Time for Relationships: it is all about making time for the things we want. And just as I make time for my partners and I make time for my projects and I (currently fail but am trying to) make time for my studies, I also have to make time for myself. Which I did: I rearranged my working hours so that I could have most of Friday to either study or see my partners, and by rotating my weekends a little, I should have two or three weekends a month to spend time looking after myself. This is what it means to make time not just in some intangible, good-intentions sense of the phrase, but literally, by changing my hours, and reorganising my many weekly tasks.

The second thing is more to do with how I spend the time I give myself. As I mentioned, it would be lovely to have the time to take a bath and watch a film, but in reality I don’t want to spend more than 2-3 hours, tops, doing that. I love soaking in the tub and catching up on Breaking Bad as much as the next person, but at some point – probably some point very soon – I will want to do things. I get jittery and guilty if I do nothing. And actually what I find most relaxing and most calming is getting to the end of a day and feeling that I have fully prepared myself for the next. Knowing that my laundry is done and my column is scheduled and the podcasts are edited and my studying is on track? That’s the stuff that actually leaves me feeling nourished and healthy and calm and happy.

So I will continue to make time for myself, but only in the knowledge that working my way down my to do list – especially one on which the next task after writing this is ‘Watch Hentai for Bad Porn Club’ – will ultimately leave me less stressed than spending all day lounging on the sofa.

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Harper Eliot is a writer and podcaster whose work mainly centers around eroticism and social observation. You can find an archive of work, and links to all her other projects, on her website Harper Eliot. Harper lives in London, but rarely sees her own house, spending most of her time on public transport, listening to podcasts and tweeting too much. Her vices include cigarettes, lubricant, Earl Grey tea, opera, nail polish, and pinwheels.

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