This Saturday’s blog share goes to GIRLS AND THEIR CATS. GATC is a photo series created by Brooklyn-based photographer BriAnne Wills as a way to showcase cat-owning women in a positive context.
I love her beautiful photography and stories of professional women and their cats. If you are a cat-lover and/or just enjoy a unique take on people who love animals and care about their fur children, check it out.
I asked myself this during the late afternoon when I noticed *hours* had slipped by this afternoon while I was working, and it was nearly past the time I usually leave. I suddenly realized it was a gorgeous Minnesota day, about 80F without humidity.
Immediately I realized I should not be lingering at work, and that my husband and I had the opportunity to spend time out on a lovely patio somewhere in the neighborhood. But this realization and choice came about when I considered my priorities, or rather my priority for that moment.
While I know work is important, my more important priority is my relationship with my husband. Other relationships are important too, and I reminded myself the other day to schedule some time with friends I have not yet seen this summer. We plan to see a play and spend time together next week.
Willy, my cat, just gave me a LOUD MEOW to indicate that HE is a priority too, and he did not appreciate my husband and I lingering over live music on the patio tonight. Okay buddy, point taken.
Relationships are an important priority in our lives. Several recent studies have touted the benefits of social relationships on one’s overall health status. This does not mean we are all good at prioritizing our relationships, however. I have struggled in the past with making time to nurture my friendships, sometimes getting wrapped up in personal projects or professional goals, and neglecting to reach out as often as I would like.
I start feeling “out of balance” when I do not get enough hubby time, or kitty time or time with good friends that make me laugh. There is something about spending time with people who love you, people you care about, and those who bring meaning to your life.
And if you feel lonely? Maybe you live far from friends, or do not have family in your area. Please reach out to someone to connect. Make an effort to form relationships that sustain you. If making new friends is difficult for you, realize that it can be difficult for all of us as adults. You are not alone in feeling like this.
But attempts to connect with others is almost always worth it. We may fear rejection, or believe others do not have much in common with us. But I believe it is a bigger risk NOT to connect, and not to allow ourselves to be a little vulnerable to build connection. Sure, they may reject us. But that is only a problem if we make it mean something about us. I like to think when people reject me, they don’t know what they are missing. 😉
It can be as easy as asking someone about themselves, and listening well. Or greeting someone with a smile and a friendly word can bring about a moment of connection, making us (and them) feel less alone, to feel seen and appreciated.
Human beings evolved as a social species. But we can feel lonely in our relationships sometimes, or we can feel lonely on our own. As an introvert, I enjoy being alone and seldom feel lonely. But even I have my limits in terms of “me time.” There is no substitute for being around people who accept me as I am. What a great gift. Let us not forget to be grateful for those kindred spirits when we find them, and to nurture and prioritize our relationships.
We returned from our motorcycling trip to South Dakota/Wyoming one day early because we were back in Minnesota and relatively close to home. We decided that sleeping in our own bed and seeing our kitties was a more important priority than getting the most out of our camping reservation at Sibley State Park.
Someday we will probably check out that park, and camp there. But I was happy to get back to my own bed, my kitties, laundry facilities at home, my car which I can drive anywhere (unlike my husband’s Honda VTX). Vacations are wonderful, restorative and good ways to get out of the routine of our lives, and get some new experiences to fuel our creativity.
I have to admit that limiting my online time in an intentional way really challenged me. I like being plugged in, able to see the weather forecast or my email at a moment’s notice.
I like having access to a GPS while I travel, or restaurant recommendations via Yelp, or AirBnB searches when the camp sites are too wet for comfortable tent camping. The internets make our lives so convenient. We take them for granted.
The only time we turned on a t.v. was in the Travelodge in Wall, when we wanted to check out the rain forecasts. I don’t really watch a lot of t.v., and I don’t miss it. Occasionally I like a series on Amazon Prime or Netflix, but we don’t have cable, and I typically watch more t.v. in winter when the weather limits what I like to do outdoors.
Mostly I prefer books (and blogs) and other non-commercial sources of entertainment. I only took one book with me: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I have read it before, but savored one chapter a night as I read it a second time. Lovely book & I highly recommend it if you have not read it. Ever since I read The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, I have been in awe of Monk Kidd’s work.
I also enjoy thinking as entertainment. My imagination provides unending sources of enjoyment. There are stories I plan to write down. I complained to my husband once that, without my laptop, and with only my handwritten journals to write, I could not seem to capture my thoughts fast enough. But I did journal every day, sometimes twice.
So one aspect of home that I am enjoying about being home, in addition to catching up on reading my favorite blogs, is my keyboard, and the ability to get my thoughts down a bit faster. I also really love access to my kitchen, and being able to make my own salads with pumpkin seeds (hard to get a decent salad in South Dakota), and cuddle time with my kitties.
However, that aspect of reconnecting with my self, while surrounded by nature, is priceless. During our final night in Big Stone Lake State Park we had the entire tent camp ground to ourselves! It was awesome. No kids, no obnoxious drunk adults (fortunately that only happened one other night of camp), a cozy camp fire, lightning bugs after dark and abundance fresh air, trees and space.
Home sweet home is sweeter when you appreciate all you have after being away.