Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Randsday!

I hope you'll all join me in celebrating Randsday. Today is Ayn Rand's birthday, and Harry Binswanger has come up with the perfect way to celebrate it:
To celebrate Randsday, you do something not done on any other holiday: you give yourself a present. Randsday is for getting that longed-for luxury you ordinarily would not buy for yourself. Or for doing that long-postponed, self-pampering activity you cannot seem to fit into your chore-packed schedule.

Randsday is for reminding ourselves that pleasure is an actual need, a psychological requirement for a human consciousness. ...

Read the full description here. Especially if you're unfamiliar with Rand's philosophy, please do click over. You might be surprised to get a taste of what Rand really means by selfishness.

I feel like my life is a series of Randsdays right now. I'm in the process of adding small goals and values back into my life, after having set so many things aside when the twins were born just to survive each day. The first things to go are always The Little Things, and there was one big Little Thing that I had been putting off, which will be my Randsday gift to myself: I'm getting my hair done again! There was no way I could make the appointment for today, but I'm going on Sunday. I don't care that it takes over two hours and costs a fortune - it makes me feel like a civilized human being, and that is not meaningless.

Here are some other values that I've recently added back into my life:

  • Basic grooming: Unlike when Sam was a baby, this time around I didn't neglect my showers. But most other personal grooming activities were neglected. Now I clip my nails, use moisturizer, and even blow dry my hair. Styling my hair is still beyond me, but I think that will come back when I have a nice haircut again.

  • Blogging: I've been up and down with blogging since the twins were born, but every time I write a post it gives me great satisfaction, so I'm committed to continuing.

  • Taking care of my health: Just applying my topical psoriasis medicine was too much for me for a few months. It didn't matter that my head itched constantly - I just didn't have the focus on myself needed to take care of the problem. I've gotten that back under control and I've addressed some other health issues as well. Next step: a dentist appointment.

  • Contact lenses: It takes one second to put on my glasses and almost a minute to put in my contacts. No contest in the early days. Besides, you can't nap with contacts in. I've started wearing contacts again on occasion, but I'm still having trouble with the idea that that one minute is worth it. I'll work on that.

  • Clothing: I've only had a day or two where I stayed in my pajamas all day, but the first couple of months I was ashamed and depressed every time I got dressed. Buying some new clothing, even if it is a few sizes larger than I want it to be, has helped me to remember what a selfish value one's appearance can and ought to be.

  • Jewelry: I've actually worn earrings a few times lately, although I have to stay away from the dangling kind for a while yet. You can't put a shiny, wiggly object right in front of a baby and expect it to stay put.

  • Massages: After just a couple of months, I started getting the occasional massage, and it was well worth it because feeding babies can really give you a kink in the neck. I don't really need the massages anymore so I've moved on to bigger and better things. Namely,

  • Exercise: I joined a gym this week, and I've worked out twice already! Some might think of exercise as a chore or duty, not worthy of this kind of list. But anyone who has kids understands that exercise can be one of the most selfish, pleasurable activities of the day. Just getting out of the house by myself is huge.

These are the Little Things that I need to do for myself in order to achieve and enjoy the Big Things. It's not a trade off, in terms of time and effort to accomplish them. And it's not a sacrifice of the long-range to the short-range. It's not even a matter of hierarchy. It's a matter of integration. It's a matter of being selfish and ambitious in all things, no matter how small. And when we dismiss the small, we lose sight of the purpose and meaning of the big.
Randsday is the time to challenge any duty-premise, re-affirm your love of your values, and honor the principle that joy in living is an end in itself.



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