Being Selfish

(My daughter and I. Malibu 2015) Picture by: my daughter Priscilla.

I’ve been wanting to visit the beach for about a year now. You would think that its proximity is so out of reach that dipping my feet at the ocean’s shore requires an enormous amount of planning and saving, but the fact remains that I live in Hollywood, CA and Malibu is about a forty minute drive from my home. Week after week, I sigh (with lamentation) about how much I desire to go to the beach without making any effort to drive myself to its shores.

It’s as if I got caught up in eternal Mommy Mode. Raising my children as a single parent required an enormous amount of energy and planning around my children leaving (or making) ZERO efforts for me. The extremely rare moments I did plan a night out, I would feel guilty, I felt Selfish, and even now, that my children are all young adults (one who has moved out) somehow, I still feel that I don’t have permission to simply enjoy life.

There is always a load that needs to be washed, or the house is not clean enough, and when the house is clean, the refrigerator could use a deep scrubbing. When (according to my standards) the house is in order, I wonder if my son will need his car, or wasting the gas to his car, etc. etc. No matter what, despite my children’s encouragement, I simply will always find an excuse to not do something for me.

But, yesterday, I did it. I went to the beach. My daughters were going to accompany me to a meeting (which I cancelled) and therefore, all of our day was open. I suggested we could go to the The Self-Realization
Lake Shrine to visit the gardens and Temple and then walk on the Malibu beach which was just across the street. My girls agreed and we were off!

While driving to the Temple, I did have to quiet my mind because we drove my daughter’s car (so I wanted to reimburse her for gas) while sitting in silence in the temple, I kept opening my eyes to make sure my girls were ok (every time I looked at them, all I saw was peace over their faces while their eyes were closed). They treated me to lunch at Gladstone’s (I kept looking at the prices on the menu) after lunch, with the sand two steps away from me, and the water at my reach, I paused, and looked wondering if my daughters were tired, and with hesitation said, “Do you girls mind if we walk on the beach for a bit?” My girls looked at me perplexed and said, “Of course mom, I thought that’s what we were going to do.” We kicked off our shoes, walked on the warm sand, took in the beautiful scenery, and ran towards the water. It was liberating! My desire was fulfilled. My girls and I enjoyed the water, laughed, took pictures, and when I was ready, drove home with the volume turned up so high the speakers were vibrating.

Being Selfish (or the phrase) previously resonated with a negative connotation for me, because I allowed judgment, guilt, and some kind of martyr mentality to drive my life. I felt as a mom, I didn’t have the right to enjoy my life and focused all of my aspirations and attention on my children. However, the older I have become, (along with gaining a few steady pounds every year) I have carried a burden of guilt, resentment, lamentation and blame (of self). As I witness my children realizing there own happiness, I expanded in a cloud of depression for myself. After running my feet through the sand and ocean water I realize that making time for me (or Being Selfish) is a blissful and well deserving, required way of living. This a new journey and completely uncomfortable experience, but nevertheless, one that I am embarking on. For all the moms/dads/brothers/sisters/ anyone who understands what I am saying, I invite you to take this journey with me. Welcome to The Selfish Zone!

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