Hero Training 103: You Need ‘Me Time’ More Than You Realise

self-care-me-timeWe’ve been back in the city for close on a year now and hanging out with Brian Johnson remains one of our favourite pastimes.

Drinking organic wine is a close second.

Philosopher extraordinaire and the mastermind behind Optimize —an online portal that delivers more wisdom in less time— Brian is inspiration on steroids.

If you’re as lazy as I am, you’ll love Brian’s minimalist approach to getting better at life.

Hero Training 103

In his Hero Training 101 seminar —which is based on Joseph Campbell’s well known book The Hero’s Journey and features the fascinating documentary Finding Joe— Brian emphasizes the importance of getting really comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Our five-part Hero Training 101 series chronicles the seven months we spent untethered. Hero Training 102 focused on continuing our learning now that we’re settled again.

Hero Training 103 is all about self-care. Last year brought up a lot of health issues for us, so I figured it was something worth exploring more fully.

Self-care is all-encompassing. It includes everything from fitness, health and nutrition to our spiritual, mental and emotional wellbeing. It’s morning coffee and wine at five. It’s snuggling and movies and peanut butter toast.

Ed: This is the second post in our Hero Training 103 series. These are the others:

You Need ‘Me Time’ More Than You Realise

I write about this business of ‘me time’ a lot. I’m like a dog with a bone, I know. But my reasons are solid. Time alone literally saved our relationship.

No really, that’s not hyperbole speaking. In 2006 (or thereabouts) Sporty accepted a job offer in another city. Back then, talking through the details had yet to become something we did.

I think she may have mentioned it in passing before buggering off. For my part, I wasn’t exactly sad to see the last of her. Sounds awful, I know, but stick with me.

There’s a happy ending, I promise.

We were about nine years in at that point and still labouring under the notion that being in love was all we needed to make things work. Ergo, we’d done zero work on our relationship thus far.

Things were coming apart at the proverbial seams by then. It was time alone or bust.

Bust wasn’t an option (thankfully!), so we decided instead to live separately for a few months and give ourselves a little breathing room. It proved to be a smart move and although it didn’t make our problems disappear, it helped us realise that we were still invested in the relationship.

Getting Comfortable with Being Alone

When you’re as introverted as I am, being alone is a cakewalk. But for someone like Sporty, who is super gregarious and loves being around people, solitude didn’t come easy.

I wasn’t aware of this until recently, but she apparently struggled with feelings of boredom in the beginning. I was gobsmacked.

“But you’re such amazing company!?” I enthused. “Why would you be bored?”

“It’s not the same on my own,” she replied.

“I get that,” I didn’t, but nodded empathetically anyway.

“It’s like when you’re in a social situation and don’t want to be there even though you’re the life of the party,” she explained.

This woman gets me, people. Someone get her a Bells.

All of that to say, it takes time to get comfortable with the idea of spending time on your own. It’s not easy, but the effort to reward ratio is skewed in your favour.

Our ‘always on’ world means we’re subjected to constant input, the majority of which is either negative or pointless. Introspection is key if we’re to maintain our sanity and our sense of humour.

Solitude is Therapy for the Soul

There’s nothing wrong with indulging in couples counselling when the need arises, but sometimes all you need is a little solitude to make everything right with the world.

It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best things you can do for your relationship is to schedule regular blocks of ‘me time’ in your diary.

If you’re always in each other’s pockets how are you ever going to introduce new energy and ideas into the relationship?

How will you grow?

How will you stay invested?

You need to know what’s going on inside yourself. Time alone is how you find out.

Don’t shy away from your own company. It’s the one true constant in a world of uncertainty. I’m not saying life has to be a ‘sure thing’ for it to be worth anything.

Far from it, in fact.

But you need to know that you’re able to rely on yourself. If you never spend any time alone, how will you know if you’re up for the job?

I promised you a happy ending, here it is: The Minimalist Marriage: 21 Years of Awesome.

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