by Nan Andrews
Around the holidays, it's easy to over-indulge. There is so much delicious food and drink beginning at Thanksgiving and going all the way through the New Year. Everywhere you turn, there are holiday parties and cookie exchanges, candy canes and fruitcake. A toast or two, followed by another, and we all seem to be indulging ourselves. But there are other ways to indulge yourself, ways that don't affect your waistline. As I get older, I find that my daily schedule is mostly at the mercy of those around me: work, children, spouse. I have to fit in the grocery shopping and the Christmas shopping, paying the bills and ordering the photo greeting cards. I forget about the things I need until it's late and I'm tired, too tired to do anything about it.
The most important way I've indulged myself this fall is to make time for my own needs. I wanted to commit more time to my writing, so I gave up the weekly coffee with my friends, rescheduled the exercise classes and gave myself a stern talking to about facebook and boingboing. I told everyone I was going to keep office hours. 9-12, M-F. And for the most part, I've managed to do so. It felt strange at first, to realize that people were holding off calling me or expecting me to do things in the morning, because I'd declared I was busy. That in itself was empowering and I got a great deal of writing done. Two thousand words a day on average. Faster than Nanowrimo pace and while I wasn't working on just one piece, it was exciting to be cranking out the words.
Another need that I had been neglecting was my own desire. I'd boxed it up and put it in a closet, waiting for a day when I had more time. That was a mistake. Despite my obligations and my age, I still have strong sexual desire and when I started making time for it, I found it blossomed in ways I never expected. My body is different now, older and wiser, perhaps. The rush I feel isn't the quick lust of youth, something that once built to enormous circuit-blowing fireworks. Now, it's slower to enflame, but it burns longer. I have discovered a plateau of pleasure that is altogether more satisfying than jumping off the cliff of my youthful orgasms. Now, the orgasms are many and varied, more subtle but also more frequent. And while they take more attention to begin burning, I can stay on the plateau once I get there. This is a change that was definitely worth waiting for and worth paying attention to.
Age and experience have shown me that there are many more things that arouse me, many more ways in which that arousal is expressed. Happily, however briefly, I found it to be an easily renewable resource. So, I indulge myself by writing and by looking to my own pleasure, and hopefully, it will outlast the holiday season and become a habit.