The last year or so, this topic continues to come up in my mind and heart… and the other day this post came up in my blog reader and honestly the title says it all “Scheduling our priorities.” It is the perfect reminder to me of something I really strive to do in my own life… I fail at it a lot (clearly) but really want to do better at scheduling my priorities.
Uh oh, personal sharing moment: (This will be more interesting if you pretend you don’t know my family). When I was growing up, there were a lot of times I felt just like “one of the crowd” to my mom. My dad was good about spending individual and quality time with each of us, taking one at a time to the weekly hardware store runs, taking turns with who he too with him to work on the house Fridays and Saturdays (for about a decade), and for me, taking me to work with him to answer phones and lick stamps (which turned into a fabulous job that I still miss). What I’m trying to say is that my dad purposely took time to schedule in his kids, his priorities. Or maybe not so much on the scheduling, but he looked for opportunities for quality time.
My mom, on the other hand, spent most of her time with us. She stayed home with us, and even homeschooled all 11 of us (and is only now wrapping up her 30 year career as a homeschool mom). And yet, I never felt like a priority. That isn’t to say I wasn’t a priority (did I mention the feeding, clothing, raising, and homeschooling 11 children?), it just didn’t feel like it. And I think part of this has to do with that whole theme of scheduling your priorities.
My mom is incredible at making room for a person in need– no matter what the need or who the person. I can’t count the number of people that would show up for a cup of tea, or need a hand, or an ear, or a shoulder, a babysitter, a dogsitter, a meal, and my mom would immediately drop whatever else was going on and serve and love that person, right then. And I have to say, I admire that quality and attempt to live it in my own life. And yet it comes with a downside, there is ALWAYS another need. Another person wanting your time. Another distraction. Another thing to get involved with. And we can easily forget to prioritize and just default into constantly reacting to other people’s demands, requests, needs. (Yes, you moms out there live this to an incredible degree!)
And since I’m rambling senselessly, I’ll go ahead and mention personalities and how that plays into things. I am a “J” on the Myers Briggs scale, 10 to 0. My mom is a “P.” J’s like things scheduled, planned, confirmed, definite. We are more comfortable having a decision made, even if it is the wrong decision. P’s on the other hand, prefer to keep their options open as long as possible- forever if they could. They are more comfortable before a decision is made and resist making committments and decisions in general. Maybe it’s partly my J self that felt like I never made it onto my mom’s P schedule. Let’s be honest, there wasn’t much of a schedule most of the time (is it any wonder I’m an extreme J?)…
And then I look long and hard at my own life: How often do I wait to hear from people instead of making a phone call? How often do I schedule in the people I love most? Why is it months between visits with a good friend who lives only a few minutes away?
I don’t have the answer. I do try to schedule in time with friends, family, munchkins, dogs, home projects… and clearly I am far from that ever elusive balance… but I also know I can do some concrete things to schedule my priorities and just simply reexamine them. Am I living the life I want to? Or am I defaulting into something else because my priorities aren’t clear (and still can’t say no)? Am I actually scheduling my priorities?