Tuesday morning I had a schedule mix-up and found myself at work with an extra couple of hours on my hands. Additionally, I had received a small, unexpected check in the mail. Normally I would have just knuckled down and gotten some work done but I decided to treat myself to a break. Having come back from the Florida trip with the same pasty-white legs was a bummer and the weather going up and down, up and down, up and down is not particularly good for my psyche so I decided to go to a tanning salon.
Yes, I know the risks, but I am a firm believer that the cocoon of warmth and Vitamin D in a 15 minute (and eventually 30 minute) session in a tanning bed can change how I feel both physically (the heat makes my joints nice and loose) and mentally. Living in New England, I spent at least one session a week "fake baking" all winter long and it really helped me get through those long cold months. It was the difference between staying on an even keel or giving in to Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter months.
When the bulbs came on, I laid down on that bed, pulled the top closed and I let out a deep sigh like "Ahhhhhhhhh". I had forgotten how much I just enjoyed that brief time when no one and nothing can interrupt me and I can be alone with my thoughts. While I was laying there, I started thinking about the other things that I have "let go" in the last few years.
I had acrylic nails for close to 10 years but gave those appointments up when I could no longer handle the tech manipulating my knuckles every other week to get the fill done properly. I really enjoyed the two hours that I would sit there in a heated massage chair, feet in a spa bath and having my legs, hands and arms massaged as the tech worked on me. I *could* go for a basic manicure but I break my nails constantly at work (so they are just not cute!) and I do just as well painting them at home rather than having a tech move my hands in directions that are just not comfortable. I don't know why I gave up my pedicures in the process- probably because the mani and pedi just go hand in hand in my brain.
In that same 10 years, one of my dearest friends went through Cosmotology School and became a really great hairdresser. For quite some time, I would go on the weeks opposite my mani/pedi and have her do something with my mop. Sometimes she would cut, sometimes she would color, sometimes she would just do an intricate updo that would last a couple of days with minimal modification- sometimes all three. Even when I didn't have the time and money for bi-weekly appointments, I had regular appointments for upkeep. She had carte blanche to do whatever she wanted with my head. I trusted her implicitly and and in the less than 2% of the time I was not crazy about what came out, she would fix it asap. Best part of it was that same 2 hours where I would be able to sit and be pampered while spending time with my friend. While she had my permission to do whatever she wanted- I am VERY leery of having anyone else touch my hair. The consistency (?) is very thin, but there is a lot of it. It doesn't hold a curl and with the wrong type of color- I pull red like crazy which I HATE. I am not a cute red-head. It is also currently at my shoulders at the shortest point which is terrific because I can just toss it in a bun on those mornings that the hands don't work and I am afraid to lose any length. In fact, looking back, the last real hair cut I had (my mom's gal did a trim to clean up the ends over Thanksgiving weekend but there was no shaping or anything done) was when I traveled back to Massachusetts 14 months ago. O_o
The last thing that I have given up is regular massages. I had several folks who worked for me who went through school to be Licensed Massage Therapists. When in school they had to have practice clients for a significant number of hours outside the classroom before they could test. I was always game to be a "practice dummy" for them and do the paperwork so that they could get credit for the hours. They were not allowed to charge anything but I would always throw them at least a $20 for their time because it was just so relaxing and it was definitely worth it to remove the stress. I really can't do that here. First, I don't know anyone going through school- in fact I have not found a school near me- but also, I am fearful that with RA and Fibro, if they are not intimately familiar with how to treat someone with those illnesses they would do more damage than good.
Reading through this I had to laugh at how completely high maintenance I sound- and I can own that. When I was working 60-80 hours a week on top of being a wife and a mom and a student- I needed that "me" time to stay sane. While I really MISS those things, I am not as in need of "me" time with my slower pace. Unfortunately (?) having spent that 15 minutes in a tanning bed yesterday has reignited the desire to start pampering myself again. I may not NEED it, but I definitely want it. In order to be able to justify the expense of both time and money, I am going to have to do a couple of things:
- Give myself permission to go ahead and buy packages of tanning trips and use them often enough that the money spent is less than if I went on a visit by visit basis (It's $6.00 a visit individually and $30/month for the lowest level bulb beds)
- Set several managable goals to reach to reward myself at three different levels
- One for the mani/pedi
- One for the hair
- One for a massage
- Start "interviewing" hairdressers and massage therapists to find someone that I not only click with but knows how to handle my particular challenges.
- Budget in those expenses- and if I don't meet the goals for the month, save the money for the future.
What have you given up? Do you want to get it back? What kind of plan can you make to add back the things that you have "lost" and miss?