I have always believed that women are capable of great things. There is enough public proof with lists of women who have achieved success in all spheres of life. I also strongly believe that a group of women have the ability to change the world… if only they put their mind to it, once they finish their other, the family taken care of, the dog fed, the cupboards organized; and after attending to all the other myriad chores and responsibilities that occupy their waking hours.
I decided to invite a few friends to Evening Hour, my neighborhood bookstore cum library for a little get together on the eve of Women’s Day. I emailed about 8 women friends with an open invitation to bring along friends who may like to be part of this gathering. Only 5 showed up, the others had excuses which did not sound too convincing. Nevertheless, the ones who did show up are to be commended for prioritizing a social gathering with like-minded women, a meeting with no agenda or expectations, an event where you did not have to dress-up or please anyone or fear the feedback after the event.
We spent about two hours in the library sharing a few laughs, took pictures, ate samosas and cake and just hung out. There wasn’t much discussion about kids or specifics of our work. We supported those who were in the midst of a career change. We fantasized about exotic vacations. All of us were pleased to be surrounded by books. It was a relaxing evening.
As we dispersed with a promise of meeting again, I wondered why we women behave so strangely when it comes to prioritizing ourselves. If we had to attend a business dinner that was essential to stay in the rat race, if we had to drive through town to show up at a wedding reception of a distant relative, or if we just had to buy those necessary vegetables, we would find time and delve into the last of our resources to do what we think is needed. But when there is a chance to do something that is just for ourselves, we feel guilty about it. When the pile of things to do keeps increasing, taking some time out for self seems like an indulgence. But the fact remains that if you cannot be responsible to self, it is harder to be responsible for others, with a clear conscience.
There are only a few pleasures in life that give you more comfort than the support of good friends. It is so rejuvenating to be in midst of easy, undemanding camaraderie. A break from the routine grind of deadlines and chores actually helps you focus better on the household once you get your batteries charged in a soothing environment. But tapping into the alternate source of energy requires some effort – the effort of breaking free of the familiar drudgery and being open to the possibility that a meeting with known and unknown fellow women may actually be good for the soul.
I am sure that successful women all over the world have figured out the key to having it all lies in the ability to make time for yourself.