Fixing priorities during busy times

Published 7:05 pm Friday, September 1, 2017

This year has been a humdinger, and if I’m honest with myself, it’s all my fault. It happens every few years. I want to do so many things! Everything sounds fun and adventurous and helpful and how can I say no to any of it? So I said yes to everything, and I’d developed a clenched jaw, dark circles under my eyes and a twitching eyelid I before I realized that I had once again taken on too much. I had overbooked myself to the point of having to be in two places at once on several occasions.

Poor Hubby’s been around long enough to recognize my stress signals. He ignored my grumpy mood and let me sleep late in the mornings. He listened patiently as I griped at traffic and fussed about things that don’t usually bother me. He gave me extra coffee. He gave me little hints about freeing my schedule and giving myself more time to myself.

But I just kept going and grousing, until I was a bundle of nerves with no free time, and until almost nothing brought me joy.

It was the first cool evening of late summer that gave me pause. The dogs needed to get some exercise and so did I. I almost ignored the impulse because I had so much to do. But the breeze promised me autumn was on the way, and Hubby said, “GO!” so I called a friend I hadn’t spent any time with for months, packed the dogs into the Jeep, and headed to the lake.

I can’t pin down the exact moment I began to relax. It may have been when the dogs did something goofy, or it may have been when I lifted my face to the sky and saw billowy white clouds floating like merengues. I found myself laughing and goofing around and realized that I was having fun! On the way home, my friend said that it had been a great evening and how nice it was to catch up and talk.

My first reaction was that we hadn’t really talked about anything important. We’d chatted about our summers and work and husbands and all the things that friends carry on about when they’re together and enjoying life. When I thought about it, I realized that conversations like that, with good friends and nothing needing to be accomplished other than connection with another human, can be the most important kind. And with that realization came both freedom and a much-need realignment of my priorities.  The weight of my crazy-making summer lifted on the cool breeze, leaving me ready to face the world, and the people I love, again.