If I’m planning to blog every weekday, and I want my entries to have any sort of substance, I need to start writing them earlier in the evening. By this time of night, ideally, my computer should be off and I should be relaxing in my yukata with a book and a cup of tea (or a glass of iced tea, being that it’s summer and all). I shouldn’t still be sitting at my computer, listening to a Slowdive remix and trying to string together cohesive sentences.
I’ve taken to reading the Zen Habits blog recently. The author, Leo Babauta, offers some great ideas for simplifying many different aspects of life. One entry that resonated with me recently focused on setting priorities and building your life around those priorities — or, rather, paring down the responsibilities that don’t support those priorities.
This has always been a challenge for me — the paring-down part, I mean. There’s so much that I want to do, and dropping any of it seems like quitting. Granted, once it’s off my plate, I feel liberated, but actually giving up something — like, say, administering a website, or quitting a podcast — is so hard for me.
But at least, with those, there’s a clean break. I have literally dozens of personal projects that are in various states of completion. Video, photography, web design, interior decorating, even just cleaning my disaster of a desk — whether I’ve gotten halfway through and been distracted, or I’ve only just started sketching out ideas, it’s still in the queue, if only mentally. I can’t just let those go.
Back to setting priorities, though. That’s tough. What are the five most important things in my life? By important, do I mean meaningful, or vital to my survival, or some combination of the two? If I’m being pragmatic, I’d put my job at the top of the priority list. I need my income to — well, to keep up my current standard of living. To keep this particular roof over our heads, and to keep our two cars insured and gassed-up (OK, Aaron usually pays for gas, not me), and to buy the food we like to eat, and to enjoy the leisure activities we prefer…
If I were being less pragmatic and more personal, I’d say that my husband and his happiness are a major priority of mine. That said, what am I doing on a daily basis to ensure his mental and physical well-being? If I’m not actively doing things to make him happy, what right do I have to claim that he’s a priority in my life? Or is it that it’s a priority for me to be around him as much as possible, just because he makes ME happy?
That’s when I start to think: what are my priorities REALLY? Am I being hypocritical in my actions versus these so-called priorities? What do I need to do to align my life with my priorities — or, if you prefer a different nomenclature, my “values”?
Who am I, really, and how can my actions and environment reflect that?