When I started this blog (and the at-the-time-unemployed me paid a not so small amount for this domain), I made a promise that I would not neglect it.
Building friendships & arbors at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (photo courtesy of Michael J. Thom)
Although my readers are few (aka my mom and potentially my dog when she sits on the keyboard while I try to type this post), I am going to admit that I am a bit embarrassed that it's almost been a year since my last post.
It's not as if my life hasn't been chock full of lessons I've learned, ideas I'd like to share, or topics I'd greatly appreciate and enjoy your input on. Quite the opposite. While I'd like to employ the typical "adult" excuses of work or being tired (as opposed to the old college excuses of class or a hangover), we all know that the things we consider priorities are the things we actually make sure get done. Sometimes, though, it seems our plate is too full, and we slowly let even the small or least time consuming activities fall to the wayside.
Yet, here I am, busier than I have ever been in my entire life, loving every second of it, and I'm back to blogging. So why have I decided all of a sudden to make this blog a priority now and add one more thing to my schedule? It's not something I woke up in the middle of the night and sat down to do. In fact, getting back to blogging is just one more thing on a long list of priorities I've been conquering and re-including in my life.
Whether it's a change of location, job, or simply time of year, we all face a point in our lives where we feel as if we are doing whatever it takes to get by. Even if we don't feel sad, and our schedules are jam-packed, we still feel as if something is missing or wrong. We feel stressed, as if we are rushing around, but while we may be working hard or even playing hard, we aren't getting or enjoying the benefits we could be. Simply because we have't prioritized.
Prioritizing is more than making a to-do list of things you are obligated to do or even creating a calendar of things you want to do. It is broadly deciding the experiences, goals, and connections you want in your present and future, and then pursuing them in the most effective ways possible while maintaining balance. Seems both terribly easy and wonderfully hard at the same time.
Most of the time, you subconsciously do this on a daily basis. You make decisions about what you do or don't want to do. However, the long term or even immediate effects of doing or not doing something probably don't occur to you. Those who don't think ahead end up taking things to the extreme- living in overly hedonistic unrealistic lifestyles while others submerge themselves in the drudgery of mundane. Some may know they are doing so ("I'll stop later," being the most common excuse as well as the most blatant lie told to concerned family or friends who notice).
True, that you should pursue priorities with passion, but you also must find a realistic balance so you can achieve all of your goals. If you want to have a social life and excel in the business world, you're not going to be promoted if you're out partying every night and show up to work still drunk and unable to perform your best. Then again, you won't be very social if you spend every minute working, which will lead to unhappiness. Thus, maybe you limit your partying to the weekends, or, better yet, make lasting social connections by volunteering, playing a sport, joining a club, or even getting together with friends for dinner. The connections you build and make through these sorts of activities actually even may fulfill several priorities in addition to a fulfilling social life- someone you meet volunteering could be a valuable business connection, playing sports will be fun and coincide with a fitness priority, or spending time with friends can further deepen your bonds and create a stronger network of support. Commit yourself to your priorities, and you will subconsciously be able to fill your life with success and positiveness. However- don't focus too much on 'getting something' out of life that you forget to enjoy it. After all, being happy should definitely be one of your top priorities as well as one that you can solely depend on yourself to choose to make happen.
The hardest thing about prioritizing is that it may mean going outside your comfort zone, trying something new, or taking a risk. Having priorities does not guarantee that things will work out, but it does ensure that you will know how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going. While your priorities may rise and fall depending upon what needs attention most, your unwavering commitment to leading a happy and fulfilling life will remain unchanged.
The next time your plate seems full, yet, no matter how much you slop on, you're still always hungry, take a look at what's on it. If you don't like what you see (in my literal case, that would be peas), start to consciously delineate your priorities and decide how to make them happen. Or, if you already know your priorities, revisit them to regain clarity and balance. Maintain your passion for the things you do and keep your plate full of goodness (my case: popsicles... obviously), aka your priorities: people you love, activities you enjoy, goals you strive for, and dreams you will turn into reality. Eventually, you will gain momentum and realize negativity and emptiness have been replaced with positivity and fulfillment.
After all, while we can refill and rearrange our priorities plate as much as our hearts desire, there are no second helpings of life.