Today I am working in a coffee shop. And I use the word “working” loosely. Today I am not scheduled to work at either of my jobs. I took care of my familial obligations over the weekend. Today I am free, and what I have chosen to do is come to this local chain coffee shop, read the news, and write for a while.


I call it work so I won’t feel guilty (and I did actually bring a file from the office to review, so I could decide to look at it), but the only thing I am working on is me. It is good for my soul to spend this day with a skinny hazelnut latte, headphones beaming Diana Krall, and any page in front of me that I want.


This is my mini-vacation. These days are so necessary. They keep me dreaming and help me find the ground again. It is odd that I feel so guilty about taking time for me, when it is the one thing that lets me keep giving during all the other times. I love my family. It’s easy for me to say yes to helping them. I work two jobs, juggle several extracurricular projects and many friends, and I try to work out every day. Time just slips away. I find myself short on sleep, feeling put upon, and totally drained. But if I just make some time to indulge myself I can reset.  I don’t have to go to a coffee shop. Some mornings my workout itself is an escape. And some days what my soul craves is a solo trip to the movies.


For a while my habit was to finish all of my “gottas” on Saturdays, so that on Sundays I could sleep in and wake up knowing I didn’t have to do one damn thing that I didn’t WANT to do. And once upon a time I regularly found enough hours to drive three hours to the next big city and have lunch. Neither of those fits into my life right now, but I have found so many other little things that do.


It is the forgiveness that has been the difficult part. Just like missed workouts and too many desserts, I feel guilty when I take time off from life to indulge myself. What I am working on, and getting better at, is recognizing that this IS life. I don’t have to get it right every time, but this isn’t even wrong. I just have to let myself be, listen to what I need, and enjoy it.