Sunday, April 28, 2013

Priorities and Back Burners

It recently occurred to me that the last four years of my life resembled a swinging pendulum vacillating between a series of things that were priorities for a few months and then swinging on to others. There was never a time where I just rested right in the middle balancing life, work, and love.
I think it's important for the most part to realize -- chances are that's never going to happen. 
Hate to be Debbie Downer here, but some things take priority in your life and require your full focus for a few months and then something else that's been on the back burner catches flame and then you have to focus on that. Kind of runs parallel with the whole theory no one has it all at the same time.
It's hard for people to accept, myself included, but sometimes we can't do everything.

So I've devised a plan. I decided whenever I feel overwhelmed or feel like everything I'm trying to do is getting 80% of my energy; I'll focus on one and give it 100%.
I was telling a friend of mine the other day (when she as well was struggling with this idea that we can't have it all -- at the same time) and sometimes you have to put things on the back burner that you don't want to like your relationships. In her case it was her friendships - I told her listen, you have friends for a reason we're always going to be there and yes we need nurturing and attention as well so we can grow together and not apart, but maybe right now isn't the time you're meant to focus on that aspect in your life. I'm learning you have to appreciate the graces that life gives you - like the really good friends that will speak to you like they miss you, but also talk to you like the time missed didn't change a thing. Or if your job is going really well, let it be! Focus that energy elsewhere. Now I'm not saying don't be a rockstar at your job, I'm saying you can always sense when you can breathe for a minute and take a look at something in your life that isn't going that well.

Take for example, when I first moved to the city my priority was survival - no joke. I had just been scammed trying to sell my bed on craigslist (so I was in the red) and I was moving to a city to start my first job where I didn't know anyone, and was also attempting to foster a new relationship. So yes, it was one of those times where everything was up for grabs and I was praying nothing would fall through. At the top of everything I just wanted to survive, eat and have a place to call home - and that's what I did. I put everything into understanding my new job so I could excel and I tried hard to keep my cat from running around the tiny apartment chasing the bugs... There were things that fell. I ran a marathon that year and didn't train as hard - ran my worst time so far and almost got picked up by the slow truck.
And that was then. But what I have now out of that 'season: priority just make it to tomorrow,' is the ability to know what it's like to be comfortable. Comfortable is the feeling you get when you can relax in a moment, you can be yourself and not that scared, anxious person; and that my friend is the goal.
I know when I write things like this it makes it seem like it's so easy or that I have it figured out, but let's be honest 1.) I don't and 2.) This kind of acceptance will be hard and it also might not always work. Life isn't a rhythm it's more of an undefined span of time with highs, lows, moments of acceleration and pause. But at least if you appreciate and accept, that you have a lot of things that matter to you and that you are only one person; then this small token of advice might help you ride the wave, pick your moment, focus, get comfortable then move on to the next thing.
Don't hate on priorities and don't stress when you have too many that need attention all at once. You have priorities to make you choose what will make you feel balanced if you attend to it in that moment. And when you feel like you're coasting take a look at something you might have set on the back burner a long time ago, maybe it's time that became a priority.

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