How Often Do You Think About Yourself? (Thoughts and Photos, Crete 2018)
For as long as I can recall, my grandfather has dreamt of taking his whole family on a summer vacation. Stay in a villa somewhere, swim in the ocean, eat ice cream two times a day, the good life. For a man who came to America at 42, and who has 3 daughters and 7 grandchildren this was quite a grand dream. This year, it finally happened and we spent a week together in Crete. I am writing this article from our flight home, and peppered throughout you’ll find photos of me and the gang.
It was an incredible experience and I really felt that it rejuvenated our family. It made me feel so thankful for our crew, and even though I always say it, it really reinforced my perspective that my family is the most important part of my life. My family’s love and approval is way more important than that of the outside of the world. The trip reminded how much fun we all have together. We all lead extremely busy lives and despite the fact that we see one another fairly often, a week living in the same house and breathing the same ocean air did amazing things for our collective spirit.
Over the course of the week, I spent a lot of my time with my two youngest (+cutest) cousins, Abbigail and Dalia. Because of this, I truly realized for the first time that, woah, children are time consuming. And it’s not even about the physical time you spend slathering on sunscreen, watching them, changing them, feeding them, etc, but also, it’s the brain time. I would spend an afternoon on the beach with the girls and then recognize that 5 hours have gone by and I haven’t checked my phone or thought about the philosophical questions that bug me regularly. At home, I spend a ton of time thinking about myself. I worry about what my future holds, about my career, about whether or not I will be successful, about if I am a good friend, a good wife, about if I pay enough attention to my diet, and so on, and so forth. I often hear that is what your 20s are about but man, it sure feels egotistical when I write it out. With the girls, I spent so much time concentrating on their needs that not even one minute was leftover to ponder about myself. And forget bigger picture questions that normally plague me, I barely remembered to put on sunscreen and drink water. My meaning on earth was immediately translated to their (temporary) caretaker. And for the first time in my life, I understood why people say that children take up so much time. It was a really strange feeling and a surprising realization.
We discussed this at dinner and the rest of my family (those who are parents) said “yeah duh!” They sort of just laughed it off and were surprised that this might be unusual for me. Brandon said that like anything else, it takes time and effort to find a moment for yourself. To quiet the noise of the daily grind and figure out what it is you really want, who you want to be, and how you want to spend your time. But I have to be honest, it’s hard to imagine how one finds the time. I already feel overwhelmed most days trying to balance work, entrepreneurship, family, marriage, social life, my blog, exercise and me time?!?! Adding a kid into the mix too? And being good at it? How will I manage to keep all the balls in the air without letting everything fall to the floor?
Being a mother is something that I have always, always wanted to for myself. I dream of having children one day and no amount of fear will take that goal away from me, but this week did make me feel (on a very small, but personally significant level) the sacrifices that people make to be parents. Not only must you give up time and money, but you must also give up brain space, goals, and dreams. And this is not to suggest that everyone who has children gives up everything for them, but only to say that they must work 3x as hard to make space and time in their lives for all of the other people (including themselves) on their plate.
How about you? Are you a parent? How much time do you spend thinking about yourself? About your partner? Your children? Your job? How do you find the time for it all? Are we all dooming ourselves by trying to be superhuman? By simultaneously craving financial and creative freedom, by striving to be a near-perfect partner, friend, and mother? Is it possible to be good for those around you and for yourself at the same time? These are the questions I’m wondering about these days. And also about where to find the best Greek food in NYC because MAN does that country have some dank cuisine and delicious produce.