Friday 26 February 2010

Me Time

A few days ago I heard a discussion on BBC Radio 4 about me time. I had been looking forward to this programme. It would be a half hour of me time for me. I settled down to listen but was surprised to hear me time being referred to as ‘a sad, self-serving concept from those who have it all but want more.’ They talked about me time being ‘a marketing ploy from the States’ who have imposed a ‘me, me, me society’ on us encouraging us to be selfish. There seemed to be a general agreement that nobody needs me time.

Well this listener does not agree. Everybody needs me time. It doesn’t mean ‘I am the centre of the Universe’. The nearest the discussion got to discussing me time as I understand it was when they talked of ‘snatched pleasures’ but even that phrase has undertones of guilt. Why should a pleasure have to be snatched? We should all be entitled to take time out to do something enjoyable. It might be looking at the daffodils that are unravelling in a vase beside me as I type, or not running for the bus and watching it sail by knowing that you can sit in the bus shelter listening to the birds for ten minutes. After all, what harm can there be in arriving ten minutes later, especially when it gives you the opportunity to notice how brightly the birds are singing just now? It’s not only about being aware of nature. It might be wandering through a market looking for nothing in particular, visiting the local museum, the list is endless.

Me time is vital if you are living the sort of life where you rush around, ticking jobs off the to-do list, and refusing to say ‘no’ to anyone in case they think less of you. This is a routine that can creep up on you without you realising it. I rarely pop round to friends for a chat these days which could mean that I’m no longer encouraging them to have a bit of their own me time. So that’s it! Friends beware! I’ve decided I’m going to start visiting you all again, turn a bit of me time into me/we time. Come to think of it, if we have a cup of tea while we’re chatting I suppose we’ll be having me/we/tea time. [Sorry, couldn’t resist it!]

So bring on me time, banish guilt and I’d like to end on a quote from the radio programme. This is one I’m certainly in agreement with; ‘The next time you see a beautiful sunset, stop what you’re doing and look at it because we’re a long time dead.’