If there is one thing that I have learned in the past two and a half years is that you have to be able to prioritize your life. For me that meant that I had to learn how to have a work/life balance and how to say no to people. Unfortunately it also meant that I had to weed people out of my life. In a very short time my father died, I had a tumor removed from my ankle, and I was diagnosed with MS. These three things made me take notice of my life and my surroundings. Including the type of people I chose to surround myself with.
Let’s talk about friends first. You learn very quickly in times of crisis what type of character the people around you possess. Relationships are complex. Friendships as well as romantic relationships will never be “perfect”. Some people do well with crisis and some do not. Nothing is ever black and white however your friends, the close ones, should be the ones who make up your support system.
However you probably do have friends that need to be the center of attention. This may not be evident at first. Who would choose to have selfish friends who are not there to support you in a time of need? It can happen in the most subtle of ways. Then, when you’re not asking them about their day, or focusing on their problems and reacting to their lives, they disappear into the night without so much as a goodbye.
These types of people should be a very low priority in your life. The true friends, the ones that you can always count on, the ones that will fly to Florida and help you dispose of bodies into the Everglades (smile), are the ones you need to hold onto. They know that you’re not always going to be attentive or happy. They realize that sometimes you need to vent and sometimes you just need to sit and watch a movie and not think. They don’t coddle you and will tell you, kindly, but straightforwardly if you’re being ridiculous (sometimes maybe not so kindly depending on how foolish you’re acting). These are the types of friends you should make a priority in your life.
Ok let’s talk about work now. Unless you’re independently wealthy you have to work. It’s a neccisary evil. Actually, wealthy or you live off of the land and off the grid. Barring those two exceptions you probably have to work. This should not be your priority in life. I’m sure that most people, when they’re 70 don’t say to themselves “I wish I would have worked longer hours and harder and spent less time with my friends and family. What a waste!”
In my life, I have been more focused on other people’s needs than my own. There was a time I was having right sided wonkiness (new word). This meant that at times I couldn’t write my name correctly or walk. I was literally standing still until my leg decided it wanted to cooperate with me again. I ignored it. I use to joke and call it my mini-stroke. This was me not making myself a priority. I would do things for others, work overtime just because I felt I was being consciences, and ignore myself to my own detriment. I don’t do that anymore, at all.
Will I put others first? Yes, I will and I will even do things for them that may make me tired, drained, and wreaked. However, I know where the balance is. If I need time, space, or just to be, I will do that for myself. Some people cannot handle this type of adult mature relationship. Friends who could not be there for me or who I could not be there for 100% of the time, just disappeared. The manager at the job I previously had did not understand why, when I had the flu, I chose to stay home rather then go to a company function or why I took a day off to go with my mother for her heart catheterization.
Life has to be about balance, especially when someone has a major medical problem such as MS. I’m not going to do something that I know is going to wipe me out for the rest of the week, if I can help it. Will I do that at times of strife and when I’m needed? Yes. Will I because you feel like I need to because you have some sense that I need to coddle you or stroke your ego? No.
I have found recently that while most people like to say they want a life that is without games and without strife, the majority really don’t mean it. I however mean it. I’m blunt and I warn people that I am blunt. If I’m too blunt I will apologize, my intention is not to hurt someone however I feel it’s better to get it out in the open then to hide it. Games, which some people need and want, are not what I do. I’ve been called a “weird girl”. I suppose that means it’s because I’m not willing to play some odd relationship dance. I am me and I’m fairly sure that how I am now will not changed to dramatically in the future. I’m either accepted or I’m not and I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not to make someone else happy. This is a low priority probably somewhere under sending money to that prince in Nigeria that has 10 million dollars for me.
Do I say everything I want to say at all times for all situations - of course not. There is a difference between being blunt and being socially unacceptable and clueless. Again balance.
Drama in general is something I try to avoid in life, love, and work.
Am I perfect at this? No. No one is perfect and I have lots of flaws but I admit that. I however know what I need to do for myself and recognize that if I have to work on something so hard it feels like I’m barley keeping my head above water to keep it (relationship, friendship, job) at a tolerable level, it’s not worth it. I’m not saying that every relationship or friendship you have will be sunflowers and puppy dogs, however it shouldn’t feel like a MMA cage fight every day.
Life is about balance. Work but play just as hard. Spend time with those you love while you have time to spend. If you have children get to know your children before they have their own children. Waiting for some magical time when things will be right to do x, y, and z will never get you to x, y, or z.
The perfect person with no flaws will never be there, he or she is going to comb their hair the wrong way, or be too skinny or too fat or have a bad sense of fashion. Perfection does not exist but balance does exist. Extremes of anything are bad and you will never be happy if you’re on one end or the other of the extreme. I have a strong belief in God and over the past three years have been growing as a Christian in leaps and bounds. Most of my friends probably do not even know how strong my belief system is.
Prioritize your life and live your life as you were meant to live it.