The Gift of Being

The Gift of Being

On the train from Winnipeg to Toronto
On the train from Winnipeg to Toronto

“Me” time. I’ve never understood the concept. I found it to be a little obnoxious if even. Why do I need to take time for myself? As if I’m not constantly making decisions that benefit me.

But this last month has been full of reflection. And I think I might finally understand the concept of taking time for yourself, although I’d probably call it something else.

Generally speaking, the motto for my life has been: be a better human being. And you can imagine how quickly someone might fail at this quest. Every day I hadn’t accomplished something to save the world, advance my future or change a life, was a day that hadn’t lived up to my enormous expectations.

And in that deep and ambitious search for purpose, (because that’s really what I’ve been trying to find) I found myself not only constantly physically and emotionally exhausted, but deeply guilt-ridden when I felt like I’d wasted my time.

But here’s the thing: If I’m going to beat myself up for every time I watch a movie on Netflix instead of figuring out how to become a better human being, I lose part of my humanity in the process. I lose out on one of the most valuable gifts we have as humans, the gift of just being.

In this last month, I took plenty of time to just enjoy this gift. I took a 36-hour train ride solo from Winnipeg to Toronto (a “waste of time” I could’ve easily avoided by taking a plane). I stretched my musical muscles and released my inner gamer geek. I watched tv shows and movies. I went biking and worked muscles I didn’t know even know existed. I started sewing and painting again. All things I’ve been meaning to do for a while. But I just couldn’t give myself the time. I couldn’t see how any of these activities would add up to something meaningful, something I could use.

But most importantly, I learned to write again. And I think that’s what really did the trick. Writing has played such a huge role in helping me process life. Every time I’ve put a pen to paper, I’ve come out with a strong sense of self and understanding of the world than I had before.

So here’s to allowing yourself to just be. And in that process, becoming a better human being.

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The Injustice of Waiting

The Injustice of Waiting

20 minutes.

I’ve run out of things to look at on my phone. I’ve exhausted every feed of every social media I am a part of. Even the ones I never look at. My phone battery is at 10 per cent.

25 minutes.

No one is texting me back. My boyfriend should be home from work by now, but he’s not texting me. Is everybody really just that busy? Apparently, I am the only loser sitting in a parking lot waiting for my mom.

30 minutes.

My eyes have officially glazed over. My body is entering a nap-like state. The theta waves are in full gear. I recline the car seat and give in.

33 minutes.

I wake up to the first ping. Finally, someone to keep me company. The more I text about my situation, the more it bothers me. There were so many things I was planning on doing tonight. Why did I agree to drive my parents here? I should’ve just stayed home.

45 minutes.

I can’t believe this. I’ve wasted 45 minutes here in the parking lot, just sitting in the car. This is disgusting. I had so many plans for tonight. I wanted to write. I wanted to read. I wanted to play my ukulele. I shouldn’t have to sit here after a long day at work. I deserved to stay in and do what I wanted. When she gets back in the car, I’m going to give her a piece of my mind.

55 minutes.

Still waiting. I’m just so tired of waiting. I don’t even care anymore.

59 minutes.

She raps on the window. I unlock the door and start the car. She starts to tell me all about the clinic. About the rooms and patients and all the wires. I can barely take in the words. She’s not even sorry for making me wait. As if she had any control over the situation in the first place.

In my lethargy, I doubt if I have a right to be upset. As much as I want to punish someone, there’s no one to blame.

What does it matter that I had to wait? I had no control. I had no choice. There are greater tragedies out there than waiting in a parking lot for an hour.

But it stills feels unjust.