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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Priorities


After talking to a good friend this week, I found myself giving advice that I don't take to heart very often. We were talking about being taken for granted and I was waxing philosophical about how most people focus on the broken people and things in their life and in trying to fix them, we let the people and things that work take a back seat. I talked about how ridiculous it is and then after ending the conversation, I took a look in the proverbial mirror and had a "pot, meet kettle" moment. I have spent (maybe I should say wasted) years of my life worrying about things I can't fix or change and about people who treat me so poorly that they aren't worth my effort. In the meantime, I have put so many working relationships on the back burner. I have spent so much time being frustrated and depressed about tests, job rejections, finances, health conditions, broken friendships, the judgment of others, vanity (weight loss/gain, gray hairs and the like) and a seemingly unending list of other assorted what-ifs while life kept moving forward.

At the same time, if you ask me on any given day what the most important things in my life are, I wouldn't list one of those things I worried about. I would list the things that make my life worth facing everyday. You wouldn't have to listen long to be convinced that what I hold dear forms the foundation that keeps life from crumbling down on top of me. If you dug a little deeper though, you would see that I love my husband and think of him often during the day but that our relationship falls low on my list of things to take time for Monday-Friday because I have work to do, appointments to make, etc., etc. ad nauseum.

My current TO DO list says:

Finish report
Finish spreadsheet
Design program for event
Dishes
Plan meals for week
Grocery shop
Finish library book
Work on new ring design
Update blog
Get Advil from Target
Call doctor

Where is life on that list? I mean sure, the boring stuff that makes up the everyday is there but, there is no joy...unless you take real pleasure in crossing things off of your grocery list. I don't. Yet, if someone said "all you do is work," I would contest it in a heartbeat. I notice that my list doesn't say "tell husband you love him," "take a moment for yourself," or "call mom, dad and sister just to say hi." Most people would say, "Those things don't need to be written down. We just know to do them." Yet, we get so busy with the things that have made the list that we don't pay attention to those things/people that "don't need to be written down." So, in this quest to find the new me, I have decided to modify my priorities. Why not? I’m the author of this chapter of my life. At the end, when the credits roll, I don’t want my tombstone to say: “Here lies Nicole. She was worn out from worry but she had groceries in the fridge.”

My life is MUCH happier these days and I am less stressed since I left large law firm practice but when issues arise, I fall into old habits. The focus is work, housework (which often falls way too low on the list), and errands...with a few exceptions. In this life, I have given too much time to my least favorite things and I can say the same for most people that I know. Maybe its time that the things we don’t need to put on the list start getting written down right along with the reports and groceries. Take time for the things and people that aren’t broken. They deserve to be in the prologue to your day and not in the end notes.