Give it to yourself.

“I’m taking a month off,” Megan told me. She’s a busy woman with a husband, kids, pets, and a small, but very successful business.

Most days, Megan works with her clients for five or six hours, and then it’s onto texts and emails, phone calls, working on her blog and her newsletter, sending out invoices… dozens of tiny deductions from her time-bank. Her to-do list never ends. It just spirals onward, like an infinite scroll that rolls down, down, down.

“Whoa. A whole month? No client stuff at all? Nothing? A blank slate?” I asked. She nodded.

Then I asked, “What are you going to do with all that time?”

She smiled and said, “I am going to be quiet… and hear myself think.”

A whole month. Thirty days. Seven hundred and twenty hours. All of that space to breathe, to daydream, and map out the future… what a priceless gift.

I asked Megan, “Was it difficult to clear your schedule and set aside all that time?”

She told me, “In some ways, yes. It took some planning. I had to notify all my clients in advance, for example.” She paused. “But I knew… if I wanted this month for myself, then I needed to claim it. Nobody is ever going to give this time to me. I had to give it to myself.”

I’ve been thinking about that conversation with Megan for the last several weeks. Her words keep echoing inside my head: I had to give it to myself.

What do I need to give back to myself? What is my heart longing for? What do I want? Several things. I want twenty minutes every morning to drink coffee in bed, sink into a snowy mountain of pillows, and read a fantastic book — twenty minutes of inspiration before I begin the day’s work. I want three days of solitude to refine my business plan for 2018. I want two months to study Hawaiian mythology and then write my next novel. When Brandon wants to go camping spontaneously, I want the ability to say “Yes!” instead of “Babe, I just… can’t.” And like Megan, I want time to be still and do nothing at all.

Who’s going to give that time to me?

Nobody except me.

And who’s going to give you the time that you long for — time to write a collection of letters for your children to read when they’re older, time to take that long-overdue trip with your best friend, time to make art, time to make memories, time to finish writing that book that’s been caged in your heart for so long, time to sit peacefully in a room and hear yourself think?

Nobody except you.

The time that you want. The time that you need. The time that your mind, spirit, and body is aching to take back. The gift that’s worth more than gold, more than trophies, accolades, and praise, more than anything.

Give it to yourself.