Thankful Thursday: A Little Bit Selfish

I know most Thankful Thursday posts are about things that come to us from outside–from people we love, from life, from chance. Today, though, I’m turning the lens at a little bit different angle, and mentioning a few things I’m thankful for that I give to myself. Obviously, these all happen withe the support of my family and other people close to me, but I also realize how important it is that I gift them to myself, that I choose the things I need in my life and that I take steps to make them happen. I think, too often, we forget about those pieces of life and then–honestly–we’re not good to ourselves or anyone else.

Today, I’m thankful for:

  • Yoga. I know one of the ultimate goals of yoga and meditation is that they will help us open up to the world around us, to others in that world. Right now, though, this is for me. I started it a year ago, when the creaks and groans coming from my body joints got a little too loud for me to ignore. What a surprise when I found that, not only did my body feel better with regular practice, but–oh, boy: my mind is so much more relaxed and happy.
  • Doing the work I choose. Yes, I know I’m lucky. I know life and chance and my husband have a whole lot to do with the fact that I get to choose what job I’m doing right now, that I got to choose the path I wanted to head down when I went back to work. Still…I made an effort to find out what I might like. I decided not to go backward, to a job that I’d been more than done with when I exited it years ago. And I decided not to just grab the first thing that came along–although, believe me, it was tempting. I looked for and found something that fits into my schedule and location as much as anything can, and I went for it. Yes, luck. But also, taking on the challenge.
  • The fact that I share my writing with others. I think sometimes I talk glibly about critique groups, about how necessary and helpful they are (and I totally believe that), but you know what? Taking that first step- is hard–either the very first step of joining a group  or that “first time” we go through every time we send out a new piece. I do get why some writers don’t take the step. For me, though, it’s an absolute must. I cannot write in a vacuum. And–when I feel it’s ready–I submit my work to agents and editors. Again, hard. I write because I need to (see below), but I also want to see my writing on bookshelves and e-readers. And I want children and teens to get a chance to read it. So…I share.
  • Saying no. This is a big one for me. Oh, sure, growing up, I said no in plenty of ways. By not showing up in the first place. By pleading some made-up excuse. By managing things so I didn’t get asked. This is very possibly the biggest way I’ve grown over the decades. It’s kind of like what I say about revision: knowing you’re going to revise gives you the freedom to let the first-draft writing flow. Knowing I can say no gives me the freedom (and power) to step myself out into the big, wide world and see what comes along.
  • My writing. Of course I want to be published. Of course I want someone out there to read my work and say, “Hey! This is good. We want it!” All those authors I love so much, the ones I rave about in reviews, the ones whose books I read as a child and collect for my shelves today–that is so much the tribe to which I want to belong. BUT…I write for me. I write because I have a plot I want to see on paper, I have a character who–no matter how much she tries to fight me–I am going to figure out. I write because the electricity that flows from my brain to my typing fingers when a story is going well—there is just nothing like it. But you know what? Those words don’t write themselves. I’ve had ebbs and flows of writing my whole life–who doesn’t? But I started making up stories almost forty years ago, and I’m still at it. I’ve even gotten better. And, honestly, I just love that fact.

What about you? What are you grateful for in your life that you’ve given yourself? We all get from everybody around us, but we give, too. And it’s so important, I think, that we remember ourselves in that caring. So leave me a comment and let me know: what is your gift to yourself?

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6 thoughts on “Thankful Thursday: A Little Bit Selfish

  1. joycemoyerhostetter says:

    I am working hard at giving myself good health. Exploring all avenues and enjoying new foods. Figuring out what is making this body tick and what is slowing brain and body down.

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    • beckylevine says:

      I’m with you on the health thing-trying to do better than I’ve done in the past without getting too caught up in the worrying! I’m actually WORKING on slowing down my brain (it’s revved a bit too high for many years!), but–yeah-trying to keep the body up to speed. I want to do so much more than I did when I was young. My health needs to keep up.

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  2. Such a good point you make, and what a lovely list! Like you, I’m thankful I’ve learned to say no. And that I’ve generally let myself write what I want to write, rather than writing what I think will please others. I’m thinking, though, that I ought to give myself the gift of more sleep!

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