To Value Our Time In Oranges
By Z Zoccolante
We all have themes in our life and I find that when I’m going through a theme some my clients will often be struggling with issues around that same theme.
Lately the theme has been boundaries and value, specifically valuing our own time.
I’ve found that I’ve been in a season of winter, a time where I want to hibernate more and keep more of my energy to myself. And no, it’s not because I’m doing nothing and going to sleep at 6PM like a little brown bear.
In fact, I have a tremendous number of great things going on right now that all require my attention.
For people, like myself, that have struggled in the past with boundaries or had our boundaries crossed, we can find ourselves becoming agitated or stressed out when we don’t have space.
Someone pointed out to me recently that we have a biological need for space. We also crave closeness and connection but if watching the dating world has taught me nothing, it’s that when we get too much of a good thing, sometimes we don’t want it anymore.
This is how closeness and space work.
If you’re in a season of winter you might find that you want more downtime. You might find that you want your whole family to leave you alone for an hour when you come home from work so you can decompress. You might find that you don’t want to talk to your partner in the mornings, or that you just want to sit and watch Netflix by yourself instead of go out with the girls.
You might find that internally you notice some anger, agitation, or even rage and then the guilt or shame that follows.
You might do things for others and ignore your needs and become internally resentful but are scared to actually take care of yourself.
This is how I talked about it with a client today. I told him that let’s say we had ten oranges per day (this is our energy level). We get to choose who we give those oranges to. Remember that we also need to feed ourselves otherwise we’ll be starving at the end of the day. If we give ourselves 3 oranges then technically we have 7 left. But it doesn’t mean just because we have 7 oranges that we have to give those away too.
We might find that some days we want 5 oranges for ourselves and that some days we are ok with keeping 2 and giving away the rest. The point is that WE GET TO CHOOSE.
Just because we have extra oranges (extra energy or extra time in our day) it doesn’t mean that we NEED TO give them away.
The truth is that most of us are pretty cool and if people had the option to hang out with you, they would. If you live in a shared out or with people who are extraverts, there’s always someone who wants attention or who wants to connect.
I told my client that lets say we spent an entire year making food with roommates or friends and watching movies or talking story every night. At the end of the year, sure we’ve had fun but have we accomplished any of our goals or dreams or are we at pretty much the same place?
Yes, fun and relaxation is important and yes, please hang out with roomies and friends and do nothing sometimes. But if you also have goals and dreams, they don’t just accomplish themselves.
If you have a busy day and you only have 1 hour of free time (1 orange left) you can choose to do yoga by yourself or take a bath or whatever else you want to do that fills you up. Even if your friend wants to talk about their hard day, you GET TO say, hey I really want to support you and I need to take care of a few things for me right now and I’m able to talk to you about it tomorrow.
It’s OK to set boundaries around your time and space. It’s OK not to grant everyone access to you all the time. It’s OK and wonderful to value yourself and all your oranges as though they are valuable and precious (Because they are!)
I’ve been practicing this in my life this week – going to my room every night to work on some projects I have, bringing food to my room, watching things on my laptop instead of in the communal living room, and doing yoga just on my own.
I’ve accomplished a lot and then when I’ve wanted to be social I had one night where I spent 2 hours laughing my ass off with roommates in the kitchen.
Life is a balance of fun and goals and I know I feel more grounded and content when I value my time and take actions that show that this is true.
Do you see yourself struggling with valuing your time lately?
How are you spending your 10 oranges? Are you starving while others are stuffed and full?
What’s one small thing you could do right now to value your time and energy more?
Here’s to a lovely week of really valuing our oranges.