There is this phrase floating around–me-time. Hasn’t it floated your way? Haven’t you said, “I need some me-time?” or some variation on that at some point or another since you reached adulthood? Well, I tell you who doesn’t say it–children and men. Okay, maybe men do say it. To be honest, my experience with men is limited, but I can’t imagine my dad ever walking into the house announcing he was going out to get some me-time. In eleven years of marriage and I’m certain my husband has never said it either. Of course, I’m rather of the opinion that since all the world’s clocks are set to man-time, they hardly need say it. This may be unfair, but I’m too busy using my me-time to think about it.
I suspect that me-time may also be somewhat cultural or class specific. Does a brothel worker in India think about getting some me-time in between customers? Maybe. Maybe not. Does a Darfur refugee wish for me-time? How many women of the world have actually even heard of it?
Well, I’ve heard of it and I’m greedy and I want more of it. Who wouldn’t want me-time instead dish-washing-time? Unless of course you like washing dishes. Grading papers is not me-time, laundry is not me-time, and paying bills is definitely not me-time. What me-time truly is may be up for debate, but as far as I’m concerned, these things are not it.
What do I do with my me-time? Write. Sometimes I make art, but mostly I write. My me-time is spent creating characters and imagining the horrible things I can do to them. Perfectly normal, right? Of course it is.
Okay, so now I’ve muddied my thinking. I’m writing and I want to be published. I want it to be my job. I want to make a living at it. Now, leaving aside how next-to-impossible that dream is (pipe dreams going cheap!), if I do something as a job and I get paid for it, then is doing it qualify as me-time? Is my work and my free-time the same thing? If my writing is my me-time–well, who really takes things done in me-time seriously? You see, I think men don’t use the term because it sounds silly to them. Frivolous. A girl thing. Yes, I could be WAY off base (I’ve been known to be standing far afield before, not even able to find the base), but I can’t help but suspect that if writing is a hobby, if it is a me-time thing, then it isn’t a real job and, therefore, doesn’t need to be treated as such.
So, will a paycheck suddenly make it work? Or if my writing is work, does that mean I actually don’t have any me-time? I would assume that me-time is, well, to state the obvious, time for, you know, me. That said, if you gave me a large box of me-time, and the instructions on the box said, “Not to be used for housework, parenting, family/friend obligations, earning-a-living, grading papers, or writing. Failure to follow stated guidelines will result in immediate termination of me-time and the box will self-destruct” what would I do?
I’ll tell you what I would do–I’d sit there like a fool and think about writing. I can only conclude that me-time is just time spent in my head without interruption. This could mean I’m mentally off the playing field or that I’m a writer. What clues should I be looking for to answer this?
We may never know, but all the same, I’d like to know what you would do if a box of me-time arrived on your doorstep (with big letters stamped on the side–FRAGILE. HANDLE WITH CARE. I hate it when me-time arrives all broken up.)