Keeping It Real

Priorities

To all of you people who seem to have your work, exercise, nutrition, social and love life balanced and figured out, I commend you. To those of you laughing at me because you know better, and I should too, that nobody’s got this balance figured out, thank you. Sometimes you really do need to laugh at yourself.

Lately I have been so bothered by the saying, “Nobody is too busy. You’re just not their priority.” This statement bothers me because I personally hate feeling left out and unimportant. And because I don’t like that feeling, I don’t want others to feel that way because of my actions or inactions. I hate feeling like I give but it’s not enough, to the point where I usually end up feeling like I take way more than I give.

At the same time, I know that it’s okay for priorities to shift. And sometimes when those priorities shift it may feel like you don’t have time for or don’t want to focus your energy on other things that you were able to give attention to before. I try not to let it bother me if I don’t hear from someone, I try to put myself in their shoes, and I hope that others do the same for me.

I say all of that and then still expect so much more of myself. Maybe it’s because of past experiences. In my last blog I talked about friends groups and the changes I’ve had in my life time. Some of those changes were brought about by just life shifts… graduating, moving, etc. I realize some of them were also due to this feeling I’m experiencing now. The anxiety of not being able to balance what I’ve been able to balance before, and my tendency to be an all or nothing person.

This summer has been unlike any summer I’ve had in years. Maybe even my whole life, honestly. As far back as I can remember, I’ve made myself busy during the summer. In the last 15 years I have done so to avoid feeling lonely since my husband usually works long hours in the summer. There are days on end when the only time I “see” him is when I realize he has climbed into bed in the wee hours of the morning.

But he’s unemployed because of COVID-19, and he’s unemployed indefinitely. So this summer I have been able to spend time with him and do things with him like I normally wouldn’t. Mind you, we haven’t done a whole lot – but it has made me realize just how much I miss him. I feel like there’s so much “lost time” to make up for. Throw in a health scare and a week long hospital stay, and well, there go those priorities.

I spoke to a friend of mine today who has a similar life situation – her and her husband have had little time together because of opposite shifts or busy seasons, much like me and my husband. I vented to her about my feelings of guilt and that desperation to “make up for lost time.” And how it was especially difficult to realize these feelings amidst health problems reminding us that we aren’t immortal.

Her response was so well thought out and worded, but to simplify it she said, “Me too. Give yourself grace. Be with your husband.” I never thought I would feel like I needed to give myself permission to be with my husband, my soul mate, the love of my life… but again, I’m a people pleaser. I fear that changing my priorities will let other parts of my life down, whether it be work, exercise, nutrition, my social life. And maybe my biggest fear is that I will let other people down.

My husband told me that I’ve been his hero through all of this, and that I’m a lot of other people’s hero too. As sweet as this was to hear, my response to him was, “Right now I just want to turn in my cape. I’m tired of being the hero.” Normally a compliment like this would make me feel so good because helping people and being there and talking are my favorite things to do. But y’all, this girl is on empty.

I’m trying to figure out this life balance thing, these priorities, but right now I just need a break. A break from expectations. A break from being told that things will get figured out, or that I need to work on figuring things out. I’m not trying to escape anything or anyone, but trying to let the pot simmer before it boils over, if that makes sense.

I’m trying to accept the things I cannot change. I’m trying to be brave enough to change what I can. And to recognize the difference. Hmm, that sounds familiar…

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