My oldest sister, Shannon, introduced me to the adage “It is better to wear out than to rust out.” We both live that way. Ever since I can remember, I have needed to stay active, engaged, and productive. When I was younger, it was because I wanted to do what all five of my siblings did, all at once. Now that I’m older, I like George Bernard Shaw’s philosophy; I want to be thoroughly used up when I die.
I’m learning, though, that I’ll be “thoroughly used up” a lot faster than I’d like if I don’t learn to find balance and set boundaries with my time. The theme of doing something self-indulgent this week (coupled with the past two weeks of taking care of myself) can probably be viewed as a pretty narcissistic thing to focus on. The truth is, I’ve been feeling really over-extended and out of balance in the other direction, so the blog has been reflecting my attempts to find a happy medium.
With that disclaimer, I’ll admit it. Yesterday, I was a spoiled, spoiled girl.
My best friend, Irene, gave me a gift certificate for a massage this past Christmas, so I set up an appointment at a place called The Sanctuary to cash it in. I’ve never been to a spa before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The mission statement listed on the homepage for The Sanctuary seemed to fit what I have been focusing on, though. It says the salon attempts to “nurture an environment of peace and harmony that facilitates each individual’s body, mind, and spirit.
I felt anything but at peace when I ran across the parking lot that morning to get to my appointment. The week had been crazy, and I had attempted to squeeze in time with a girl from work that I mentor that morning. Unfortunately, our activity went over the time that I’d budgeted, and as I pushed the speed limit to get to the spa, I received a phone call saying that they were going to forfeit my appointment and charge my credit card. I persuaded them to give me a couple more minutes as a grace period, and barely made it there. (Good thing I’ve been working on jogging…)
The girl at the front desk led me through a set of doors and down some stairs into a dimly lit room where soft music was playing. There were people sitting in terry cloth robes on plush furniture enjoying foot soaks as they waited for a massage. There was an unmistakable Zen Buddhist theme in the decor and the vibe was one of meditation and relaxation. I felt my breathing and pulse start to calm down.
She led me back into a locker room where there was a locker with my name on it and a terry cloth robe of my very own to change into. Because I was late, I missed out on the foot soak, and Cheyenne, my masseuse, was waiting for me as I stepped out. She led me to a room upstairs that was decorated in the same manner as the sanctuary, with more meditative music playing softly in the background. I wondered if the experience at The Sanctuary would be all about the ambiance, but Cheyenne gave me a great massage and I was impressed.
Afterwards, I went back downstairs and spent some time in the steam room, just relaxing, meditating, and trying to breathe. After a shower, I sat in the main room for a while longer, enjoying some ice water with cucumber slices in it and a few macaroons.
When I left that afternoon, I felt like a new woman. Walking back to my car was completely the opposite experience I’d had that morning heading in. I had to suppress the urge to start singing “I Feel Good” and breaking into James Brown dance moves. And the indulgence wasn’t even over yet.
Next, I headed over to get my hair cut and colored by my friend, Melanie. Or, as my roommate and I like to call her, Magic Melanie the Beauty Sensei. It was great to catch up with her and to get my hair done. She also surprised me by telling me that she had some clothes she was looking to find a good home for. I told her I’d gladly be an adoptive parent, since she has an amazing sense of style and I was in sore need of some wardrobe help.
The rest of the day followed the same pattern of self-indulgence as I followed Melanie back to her place to pick up some very cute clothes and then had friends over for a party that evening.
As wonderful as all the pampering was that day, I don’t think that kind of lifestyle could be the norm for me. I loved it, don’t get me wrong. And there is something very good about caring for your body and appearance. But I’m ready to get back to the business of getting worn out and thoroughly used up. It sure was nice to have a recharge, though.