Erma has been overwhelmed and more than anything else desires time to herself- time to inhale, exhale, and repeat. Sylvia craves space of her own- both mental and physical room. Time and space provide each of them the framework within which they can refuel and remain whole.
Take an hour. Take a day. Take a week. Walk outside. Sit in a café. Treat yourself to a spa day- even if it’s makeshift in the privacy of your own home. Whatever you need to make yourself feel whole, discover what that is and do it. Now!
You cannot be whole without the time and space to feel all that you are feeling!
“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy, it will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.” ~Henri Nouwen
After weeks, months, and years of caring for others near and far, Sylvia feels more ragged and worn than ever. Luckily and almost intuitively, Erma senses her friend’s need for an ego-boosting, confidence-inspiring, pep talk. So, on this Sunday evening over old-fashioneds because Erma finds the libation tried and true, she shares with Sylvia the secret to embracing the ever-changing topography of the female body and face.
Erma: You see these lines across my face, Syl?
Sylvia: I only see a beautiful, mature woman who has navigated life with grace and aplomb.
Erma: Okay, but seriously, look at me. I’m going to tell you now the key to aging gracefully because you need to be less critical of yourself.
Sylvia: Oh good because I have new wrinkles and lines every single day. I’m thoroughly intrigued and hanging on your every word now.
Erma: Hold the mirror. Look at those creases, that pucker, and even that furrow. Look closely and deeply.
Sylvia: As deeply as that “11” between my eyes?
Erma: Deeper. Now, close your eyes. Can’t you just see your story? Those lines tell your story. You’ve lived. You’re surviving, and you have more story to write.
Sylvia: How do you know, Erma?
Erma: You have some smooth skin left. It’s not over until you’re wearing a complete map!
A sunny Saturday on the cove provides the perfect back-drop for old friends sharing bold coffee, laughter, and of course, a requisite dose of wisdom.
Erma: How was your week?
Sylvia: Same old. Been trying not to over think things. I hate that I take so much of what others say to heart.
Erma: Example, please?
Sylvia: Well, when I’m told to get over myself is the instance that comes to mind. It’s a strange concept for others to tell us how we should or should not be feeling and reacting to the relationships we are a part of, don’t you think?
Erma: I’ve always found it somewhat dismissive, even hurtful, when someone tells me it’s not about me -when the very way she or he is acting and interacting with me affects no one more than it does me. The subject matter may not be about me directly, but the very fact that I’m being used as a sounding board or a confidante (and looked to as a friend) engages me in his or her drama du jour.
Sylvia: You hit the nail on the head. How can a relationship in which I am involved- either as an integral player or as one on the periphery- not be about me? How can it not concern me? How the other person feels about the situation-at-hand may not be about me, but how I feel about him or her in that situation is definitely about me. I own that. That shit is mine.
Erma: Absolutely, Sylvia. Above all else, remember that the most important person in all of your relationships is YOU.
Both Erma and Sylvia agree on a couple of things. First, you are completely encouraged and definitely allowed to be the center of your own universe, just not of the entire universe! Second, most conversations of this ilk might be best served with wine. Just a thought.