The test we use to prioritize what is important and what isn’t in our lives.
For the last two years I’ve been working 32 hours per week, with a commensurate pay cut. I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs, been on perhaps a dozen interviews and still haven’t landed a full time gig. On a priority scale of 1-10 I’d rate this as about a 5. Work is important for survival. I need to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table, but I could care less if the next guy thinks I have a cool job or that I can’t afford a new car every 2 years. My career is a means to an end. It’s how I support my family.
Watching and coaching my kids in sports? I’ll put that at 7.5 on my priority scale, maybe even an 8. Kata may only play 2 more years of soccer, or perhaps 6 more if she sticks with it through High School. Drew has already moved on to High School. The odds say his career in organized athletics will end in about 2 ½ years. Maybe he’ll be one of the lucky few who will play in college, maybe not. The point is there is a shelf life on this. In a few short years it will be over. I refuse to miss out on it now.
My car broke down Sunday morning. Turns out the damn thing needs a new engine. After a day or two to think about it we decided to have it fixed rather than get a new car right now. This was probably a big priority yesterday, but today the decision is made. The priority is minimal.
Losing weight? That’s a high priority. I owe it to my family to be healthy. They need me. My father and mother died at 67 and 68 respectively. They never really took care of themselves until it was too late.
Saving for retirement? That’s kind of low honestly. I think we as a society have all lost perspective on this lately. People are out there killing themselves to hit a number a financial analyst came up with. Those $1.2 million retirement numbers assume you retire at 65, live to 85 and winter in Florida and take a European vacation every summer. Think about this. If you pay your house off by retirement and sell it how much is that? If you move to a place with a lower cost of living how long will that work. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. I could live to be 90 (I had one Grandmother hit 92) or be gone much younger. Don’t ignore planning for the future but don’t sacrifice experiences today for some golden sunset that may or may not work out for you.
For the last year my highest priority has been figuring out how to deal with Kevin’s death and how to help those people I love work through their pain. I haven’t had much choice in this. It’s one of those issues I don’t really know how to avoid. It is. I must.
I’ve made some progress. I’ve had some setbacks. I still have work to do.
My car (soon to be Drew’s car) needs a transplant. No big deal. I don’t like spending the money but it makes sense to do so. I move on.
My job? I’ll keep working on it.
Keeping things in perspective doesn’t mean you ignore pressing issues. We had to think through and discuss the car problem. I need to put in time and effort looking for a job. What the perspective does is keep you from becoming overwhelmed. I didn’t lose any sleep over the car (I’m losing sleep because my c-pap machine is broken and my doctors office hasn’t sent in the paperwork for me to get a new one – priority high).
It has been the kind of week that “before” I would have been all worked up about. “After” it’s just stuff that needs to be figured out. One of the new mantra’s around my house is “we’ll figure it out”. It means don’t get worked up over the small stuff.