“I’ll be down in a just a minute, honey. I need to finish this. It’s important.”
Important is a slide rule.*
*Only Gen X and above have any idea what I’m talking about when I say “slide rule.”
A Bell Curve. A Sliding Scale. Common core math may not have taught the concept. Sorry. Maybe I can explain it better.
What we value as important is often dependent upon the situation we are in.
That call from work about the TPS reports is important.
But not as important as your kid is in the ER.
Moments of crisis, moments of trial, and heartache, sometimes leave us shaken.
Imagine going back to work and listening to someone drone on about profits and production when your dad is on life support….
Imagine missing your child’s entrance into the world because you had to work overnights.
Paying your bills on time, getting out of debt, being fiscally responsible is important.
But if my kid needed an emergency surgery, and the family deductible isn’t met, I’d not think twice about the cost needed.
Our priorities are all screwed up.
I can’t tell you what YOUR priorities need to be, or which order they need to be. Heck, sometimes they bounce a little. Sometimes you gotta work a little extra. Sometimes you gotta shuffle and juggle to get things in place. That’s life. There is no such things as balance. At least not in the MOMENT. I think we find balance over long periods of time.
But your kid doesn’t care about your work/life balance when you miss their ball game.
Honestly, I struggle. Taking care of myself has not been a high enough priority. Especially this past year. I think I’ve happily settled into stroking my conspiracy and fear-porn glands a bit and allowed myself to camp out in the dark and seedy underbelly too much.
WAIT? IS JOSH A Q-ANON?
No. But I’ll admit – there’s a draw for me to try to see behind the curtain of corruption. The former journalist in me is always connecting dots and seeing deception. I like listening to the news. I like scrolling on instagram. I LIKE reading declassified files on the CIA and FBI website, or scrolling through data dumps on WikiLeaks. There’s a side of me that is VERY interested in these things. That doesn’t mean I believe any of it. But I like to look for the truth under the surface that seems to get ignored.
It’s my dark side.
I can’t tell you how many blog posts I’ve written in my head that expose the actual true things that I’ve learned (cutting through the hyperbole of the extremist websites, and the smoke and mirrors of the main stream press) – but I realize that going down that rabbit hole is not IMPORTANT.
I just went a whole weekend with Instagram deleted from my phone— with all of my notifications turned off. Not checking newsfeeds. It was hard. Digital Cocaine Withdrawal. I was itchy. LITERALLY ITCHY all weekend. I could feel my phone vibrating in my pocket when my phone wasn’t even within a mile of me.
There was some other stuff going on that required my attention, and my emotional involvement. My wife asked for our family to have a retreat, to focus on God, to focus on each other, and to cut everything else out.
I scrolled a couple times. I feel a bit dirty admitting it. I needed a little hit. Wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be leaving the green pastures and going home to a full blown apocalypse. ( I didn’t. The world is still here. )
On the last night, I started to break down. All of the pressures we had been facing came crashing at me. I felt PAIN. Deep personal emotional pain. Not just from the current situations, hell…. Some of it was four decades old. I’ll get into that another time…. But I basically collapsed on the bed and sobbed quietly for twenty minutes.
My point is, THAT crap is important. The fact that I have some deep personal woundedness that I need to work through that I’ve been numbing and fuzzing out for 40 years… that’s IMPORTANT.
I keep ignoring the fact that my health is important. Well, Last October’s heart attack should have gotten my attention, right? Gawsh. I’m about as stubborn as a mule.
I think most of us don’t even THINK about our priorities. We MAY think about our values – though we live our values whether we think about them or not… but our values and our priorities are not the same thing.
To prioritize is to actively get your hands dirty and organize the crap into piles so you can deal with it.
I can’t answer it for you. I can’t tell you what should be important to YOU. But I can tell you – if you don’t take the time to really evaluate what things are important, you’ll find yourself spinning your wheels in a flinging sludge field full of cow crap, and wondering why you aren’t getting anywhere. Trust me. I know this from experience. I’m working on it. Work on it with me.