Friday, August 13, 2010

A Year by the Sea and Other Musings

I recently checked out a book at the local library. A Year by the Sea, by Joan Anderson. Quoting the inside cover, "An entrancing story of how one woman emerged from a stagnant period, finding the energy to renew her marriage and the courage to persevere in the living of an unfettered life." The post title of the book is, Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman.  There are many pearls of wisdon and insights that hit home.

When I came home with my stash of new reading material I decided I would do nothing that evening but stretch out and read. I had nothing that had to be done; nothing urgent tugging at me to be fixed, cleaned, or managed. As I relaxed on the sofa with A Year by the Sea I began to feel very uneasy, feeling guilty for taking time for myself. After reading one page I went upstairs, cleaned up my closet then scrubbed and cleaned the bathroom. Now, that didn't have to be done but I felt I had to "earn" the right to indulge myself. Suddenly the anxiety was gone as I had "paid" for my priviledge.

Where does that "stinking thinking" come from? Chances are from many years of putting everything and everyone elses needs and wishes before our own. I dare say Im not alone in this situation, but, I had thought I had out grown it. I had to laugh at myself.

Joan Anderson touches on these feelings in "A Year by the Sea". In describing her feelings of guilt for leaving her old life for a year on Cape Cod she says, "There's a price to pay for such self-indulgence. I stand here holding freedom in one hand and guilt in the other---." She talks a lot about taking risks and making changes in our lives stating, "Doesn't change occur only when we stop living the expected life?"

I doubt that I will ever totally eliminate those feelings of guilt or not being worthy enough when I indulge myself, whether it be time for myself or buying something unnecessary and outrageous. But, being aware of this behavior is a step in the right direction. I can say now, when I catch myself feeling those pangs of guilt I stop and think how inappropriate they are and laugh a little.

A few years ago I tore a page from a magazine and still have it tacked up by my computer. It is an anonymous quote. "When you die God and the angels will hold you accountable for all the pleasures you were allowed in life that you denied yourself." I read it daily.


Yvonne said...

Great, great post Lana! I have many of Joan Andersons books and love them all. In fact I was thinking of taking one of them on our trip in reread. LOL I think a lot of women our age will relate with what you wrote here.

Yvonne said...

Joan Anderson just joined blogland with her own blog as of July 4th 2010. This is the link....

Lana's Threads and Musings said...

Thanks Yvonne. I just discovered her writing and love the message. I will certainly check out her blog.

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

Hello Lana ~ I am visiting you from Yvonne's blog

wonderful thoughtful inspiration here, thank you for sharing

reading is something I wish I could hold still for and do more of ... I have stacks of books but spend so much time doing other things I enjoy too ... balance certainly is a tricky thing as is acceptance

all the best to you

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister! I certainly see me in your post. I've been feeling guilty off and on all day for doing "nothing" except stretching out on the sofa, reading, watching tv, taking 2 long naps. Oh, but wait. I did wash and put away a load of clothes. Absolved. Well, not quite. Perhaps I ought to throw in a Hail Mary or two before bed. Love, Linda

Lana's Threads and Musings said...

Patty and Linda, Thanks so much for your comments. Yep, a good Hail Mary couldn't hurt. Just kidding. It is a life's work to try to get over ourselves and push beyond all that guilt stuff.