This post is brought to you by Ghirardelli Intense Dark™ Chocolate
Milestone birthdays have always been about where I am in life and where I see myself going in the future. Admittedly, most of these birthdays have had more of a psychological impact on me than anything else. When I turned 25 years old I remember thinking how I was “officially” in my mid-twenties and how being engaged at that time seemed exactly where I was supposed to be. It was time to say good-bye to my wild ways (which weren’t really very wild at all) and hello to married life. I felt mentally prepared to settle down and start a new chapter in my life. Then the following year I turned 26 and I actually felt a little sad because I was “officially” in my late-twenties. Turning 30 years old was a big turning point for me.
By this time I was a mom of two young daughters. Mothering in those early years was both challenging and exhilarating all at once. All I wanted to do was to be the best mom possible. I took my role as a mother so seriously that somehow I confused being a good mother with meaning I had to sacrifice myself and my needs in the process. It wasn’t until my son was born I realized it was okay to give myself permission to take care of me without feeling guilty. I no longer needed to be a martyr to everyone’s needs.
I’m turning 38 years old the end of the month and I’ve been reflecting a lot about the last 8 years and how much has changed, especially when it comes to taking care of myself. What I’ve learned over these years is how important it is to serve others from a place of overflow. In other words, when I take care of myself in a little self-nurturing, it is the equivalent of filling up an invisible energy tank inside of me. It enables me to take care of others without feeling drained. When I feel overwhelmed and let myself go, my tank becomes empty and serving others on fumes can feel like a slippery slope I prefer to avoid.
Knowing my forties are just around the corner I’ve made it priority to indulge in little doses of self-nurturing on a regular basis. One of the ways I accomplish this is by carving out a nightly quiet time for me after the kids have gone to sleep. A typical late night usually involves a little bit of good quality chocolate, music, reading, journaling, and a time of reflection.
Quite honestly, late night evenings around here are more like personal, private mini-retreats. Some people like to indulge in a glass of wine before bed; however I start my late nights by reaching for a familiar rectangular bar on the top shelf in my bedroom closet. This is one of a few places I stash chocolate for the purpose of hiding from my kids so I can enjoy it for myself. I indulge in a little bit of chocolate every evening when the kids are sleeping and the house is quiet. I’ve been doing this since they were babies. There is something sacred about a quiet moment in a still environment which otherwise is always full of activity. The late night stillness is a natural invitation to slow down and take a few minutes to calm my thoughts and give myself permission to enjoy a couple hours to myself. Getting to enjoy a piece (or two) of nightly chocolate has become a ritual I look forward to at the end of the day as a gift to myself.
Recently I was sent several bars of a new line of dark chocolate from one of my favorite chocolate companies. Ghiradelli Intense Dark ™ Chocolate is the perfect way to begin my nightly personal time to indulge in. During this past week I’ve been sampling all their different flavors and I must say the Ghiradelli Sea Salt Soiree (dark chocolate with sea salt and finely chopped almonds) is my favorite. The slight hit of sea salt combined with dark chocolate and almonds has become a guilty-pleasure of mine. Chocolate lovers will appreciate the details of each bar on the back of the packaging with tasting notes and description of each variety.
I remember hearing a couple years ago that being in your forties was the new twenties. However, as for me I’m embracing my late thirties as the beginning of the best years yet to come which includes indulging in life’s little chocolate pleasures.
Anyone else care to share how you indulge in taking care of yourself? I would love to know!