One of my all-time biggest pet peeves is when people say to me "You're so lucky you have time to do all that," where "that" spans the gamut of exercise, sleep, volunteering, hobbies, or whatever they are referring to in my life.
A woman I used to work with was younger than I was, and she'd always ask me if I was going to the gym after work. I'd always reply with something like "Yup, I have step and lifting tonight."
She'd reply: "You are so lucky you have time to do all that, exercise and stuff. I don't have time for that. I wish *I* had the time to do that stuff."
It made me want to scream. There is no "luck" involved, honey. I didn't "win" this lifestyle. I CHOSE this lifestyle. You chose YOURS, I chose MINE. Period.
- I did not choose to shack up with a guy, thereby increasing the time spent on family-related activities, as well as probably also increasing the time spent cleaning up after a cohabitant.
- I did not choose to have a baby, whether you claim you planned it or not. No one has a child without their consent. Regardless of your beliefs about ending a pregnancy, there are ways to not get pregnant, whether you want to abide by them them or not.
- I do not choose to become engrossed with lots of TV shows so that "I gotta get home and watch the next episode of [Show Title here]"
- I do not choose to have a very active social life, where I have to be at dinner parties, family parties, birthday parties, play groups, and the activities of my significant other.
I have the same number of hours as EVERYBODY ELSE. I just HAPPEN to be very EFFICIENT with what I do. I don't have a secret helper somewhere. I just choose to use my time effectively, and I do not whine about how "I have to do x, y, and z but yet I have no time to do x, y, and z".
We all choose our lifestyles, and it's insulting when someone hints that I am just living in the lap of luxury because I made certain choices, or that I have been "fortunate" to spend my time doing the things that you WISH you were doing. To accomplish your goals, one has to have the focus, determination, and high expectations of one's self. To accomplish your goals, you have to put yourself first. There is no way around that.
I am not more or less "lucky" than anyone else. I life a simple life. I have actively made life choices that will make my life simple. I happen to be a loner. I also happen to not "spin my wheels." I have worked with and met a lot of people who make grand plans to do things, yet never seem to get anything done. I've worked with people where it will take them all day to complete a simple task. I've always been someone who gets a lot done, and does it correctly. I was an outstanding waitress, because I managed a very personal sense of urgency with a very good ability to manage time effectively.
I'm not "bragging" that I get a lot done in a day, because for me, this is just "normal". I don't like it when people seem to want a reward for getting things done in life. I sometimes hear mothers speak about how frazzled their day is, managing children, a household, and sometimes a job. Sometimes they sound like they want me to extend my sympathies; I will not do that. That was your choice. And if you choose to have children, and you choose to live a frazzled life, that does not make me lucky. That makes me just different than you. I don't like my personal life choices minimized by the title of "lucky". It extremely condescending.
I don't want to rattle off all that I do with my spare time, but the only thing I can attribute it to is a sense of organization and urgency to keep up with life. I think there is a bit of culture in this country where if you're not frazzled and running yourself ragged, that you are selfish. (I've also been called "selfish" for not wanting children, but that is a whooooooole other conversation that I will opt to not discuss here.)
I couldn't disagree more. If you don't take care of yourself, your mental health, your physical health, and your spiritual health (if that applies to you, though it does not apply to me), then things don't seem to work well.
If I don't exercise, my life gets sloppy.
If I don't keep up with laundry, my life gets sloppy.
If I procrastinate and wax poetically about "I'd like to do [insert life goal here]" instead of just DOING IT, my life gets sloppy.
It's just about keeping up and not falling behind.
Selfish? Please. We're not doing anyone any favors when we look at other women and attribute the positive things in their lives to luck. It ain't luck. It's choices. We all make them. Choose your choices, and I'll choose mine.