I have been wanting to write on this topic for a while. I am basically an introvert. I love hanging out with people I adore, but at the same time, I love spending time with myself. I hear a lot of people complaining of boredom when no one else is there to accompany them.
Fortunately, that has never been the case with me. Whatever little time I get to spend with myself, I have a ball of a time. It seems that the older I get, the more I tend to admire others space and expect them to respect mine. I try not to ask nosy questions nor interfere in others lives. I believe in minding my own business.
The other day, I met an acquaintance who got married recently and asked me for advice. My answer was to respect each others personal space. Every relationship needs some space whether it is siblings, parents, grandparents, children or spouse. As human beings, we cannot stay glued to each other 24/7. We all need some breathing space. I think a relationship is nothing without trust. So, being controlling or prying is the worst thing you can do to your partner.
I have been in places and situations where I was controlled and confined, both emotionally and physically. I have been trapped in London underground tubes and lifts. My freedom is essential for me now. I love standing at the edge of mountains, inhaling a breath of fresh air and feeling the wind blow in my hair. One reason why I love trekking is because I can draw in, the cool fresh air. Nature is the happiest place for me.
Our bodies are very delicate. They need to be treated well. I have been injury prone all my life. Every time I had a massive injury, I was reminded of how fragile I am. Sometimes just a little bit of carelessness can cause us so much pain in the long run.
I fell off a ladder from 5 feet, about 3 years ago, and I still have to bear its consequences. My knee injury from Cricket in 2002 hurt me every winter for the next 5 years. It’s times like these that we realize the importance of taking precautionary measures and putting ourselves first.
In ‘How to stop worrying and start living’, Dale Carnegie encourages us to get inspired by cats. All cats are concerned about, most of the day is where they will be most relaxed. Every time my cat Muffin enters a room, he looks around for the most comfortable couch (or lap or even a shoulder). He quickly lies down in a position where he is the most at ease. Then he starts his purring machine and enjoys every moment.
It is true that our circumstances should not define our wellbeing. Our happiness originates from ourselves. If we wait for a happy situation, we might as well keep waiting all our lives. Unfortunately my family has faced many crises. At times one feels like life is over, there’s nothing to look forward to. But only if we look around, there are happy things happening even in sorrowful times. We just need to find that contentment within ourselves. An effective way to make your self happy is to pretend to be happy and talk in cheerful tones. In most cases, the pretence becomes reality in just a few moments.
I have been an independent woman for many years now. I have been traveling all alone; in places with highest crime rate, at the latest hour in London. I’ve had very spooky and strange experiences too. Unlike many Pakistani women, I am luckily liberated. Thanks to that, I get to spend a lot of time with myself. I have also flown across the world on my own a few times. I love flying because it gives me the guilt-free opportunity of watching movies, sleeping and reading books for hours. Usually I opt for the window seat and love watching the exotic landscapes while the plane takes off and lands.
It is really not selfish to put yourself above everything else. On the contrary, it is actually beneficial for your community and others around you. The more you pamper yourself, the more you will be able to do for others. On the other hand, if you ignore your needs and collapse in the process of helping others, you will actually cause them inconvenience as they will have to look after you instead.
God has given us only one life and one body. When a baby is born, he has brand new eyes, skin and arms. But as he grows older, he has to take care of these as he knows he can’t have a refill of these, like our bottomless drinks at Pizza hut. We must thank Allah for His bounties. The best form of gratitude is taking care of the things you have been blessed with. This body has been entrusted to us by Almighty Allah and I feel we will be answerable to Him if we don’t take care of it.
One of the best parts of my current job is that I get about an hours’ drive everyday to work and back. The moment I get on to Margalla road and witness this gorgeous view, it takes my breath away. Its not that I haven’t seen any place more exotic than Margalla road, Islamabad; It is that I’ve learned that the most stunning place on earth is where you are right now, here in the present.
There is no place more beautiful for you, than where you are now. Every moment is special, I make the most of what I have, and where I am, today. Because sooner or later, I know I am going to miss all this. Thinking about the past or future will not get us anywhere. Enjoying and living each moment now is what really matters.
My advice to all those who are single. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you to settle down only because the time or your age is right. Don’t let them tell you that if you don’t get married, you will end up alone. The only good enough reason to ever get married is that the right person (with good values) has come along. If that right person is no where in sight, there is absolutely no reason to settle down for anyone less than who you deserve.
Trust me, alone is not a bad place to be, I’m sure you can learn to enjoy your me-me time. At least you know you wouldn’t deceive your self one day. A really bad place to be is where you are sharing your life with someone who uses and abuses you day and night. Makes you feel like muck and treats you even worse. With whom everyday of your life is the biggest struggle. No one has the right to take away our basic human right ‘freedom’ away from us. We are not slaves, we have every right to be respected. May Allah save us all from such a dreadful place. Ameen.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in spending time with your self. I think everyone should learn to enjoy Me-Me time. My typical exclusive time includes:
Spiritual time with Allah (namaz, Quran, duas)
With my pets (Muffin, Kungfoo, Tessa, Buppy)
Reading a book
With my hobbies (stamp collection, genealogy, scrapbooking)
Room time (decorating, tidying up or watching dramas or movies)
Personal hygiene (shower, girly chores, changing nail polishes)
I loved how Abbas Hussain, a religious scholar, and owner of Teachers Training Center Karachi (my mom’s mentor) said ‘I take my entertainment very seriously’. We shouldn’t just waste our time even when it comes to how we spend our spare time. We should only watch shows which will definitely enlighten and exhilarate us. Life is too short. We should focus on quality leisure time.
Life is not fair. We make friends, get close to people, sometimes our closest ones wither away. Its tragic to lose someone you loved so dearly. In today’s materialistic world, too many people get close to their phones, computers, or other things. These things become our lifeline. I am happy to confess that I would absolutely love to leave my mobile phone at home and spend some time in a garden watching the birds fly or hearing the wind through the trees.
There was a welsh guy I met at Caernarfon a royal town in Gwynedd, Wales. We started conversing and I asked him what he does. He said “I listen to the wind through the trees”. He was an artist by profession and didn’t believe in keeping mobile phones, laptops or even TV. The only thing he was interested in, was a camera from which he would capture nature’s precious moments and relive them later.
One of my mom’s best friends Birgit from Germany loves her Me-Me a thousand times more than I do. She also does not believe in gadgets and loves exploring the world with different groups. She does interact with people while traveling but refuses to share her room with anyone.
Learning to enjoy ones own company gives a person the contentment that we are not dependent on anything or anyone to be happy. Our biggest pleasure could be just to hop across to the nearest garden and make the most of this time we have on our own. If I have my Kindle with me and have the liberty to sit in a garden with the sun on my back, that for me is ultimate bliss. This is also the idea of my favorite lunch hour at work. If someone wants to join me, that’s great but if they can’t, I don’t mind.
Thanks for reading. I would love to know if you like to spend time with yourself. How do you spend you-you time?