Since I’ve come back from the marathon, I have heard countless times a common refrain. It sounds a little different each time, but the gist of it is, “That’s so great that you do that! I just don’t know what I’d find the time!” And, while I respect that people have different lives than mine, I always want to respond, “You have just as much time in a day that I have. You just spend it differently.” And the whole conversation that seems to be on repeat seems to boil down to 2 things: priorities and balance.
Priorities are tricky. We all have them and we enjoy having them. Can you imagine a world where everything had top priority? I know sometimes it feels that way, but there are always some things, even things we enjoy, that take higher priority. We like to have our priorities pretty set in stone and it’s easier to get through the day when they are. However, it seems that they can be pretty fluid. I was talking with a co-worker that my priorities will sometimes rearrange on their own. A top priority for me is my faith, which includes reading the Bible and praying, but that can take a backseat to school deadlines, work responsibilities, and family functions. Suddenly, my organized list of what’s important has changed. Those are the weeks when it’s really hard to get a run in without feeling guilty about shirking other responsibilities.
The hardest part about priorities is balancing them. We need to recognize that our time is always constrained. We have a thousand different things in our lives, contending for our time and attention, and many of them are worthwhile uses of our days. However, whenever something is added, something must be taken away. And, as our priorities take shape, there needs to be balance between them. If you’ve ever seen someone balance something, like a circus performer or a waiter carrying a tray of food, you’ll notice that just because the item is balanced, doesn’t mean it’s always straight up and down. Things sway and they make adjustments to make sure the rest of the load doesn’t come crashing down. In our lives, to keep from being totally neurotic or narcissistic, we have to make those adjustments. Our priorities like to be fixed, but life gets in the way. Our job, when that happens, is to recognize it and make adjustments so that we can restore a healthy, fulfilling, active, meaningful life.
So, let’s not pretend we don’t have time. Let’s admit that we don’t make time. And that’s okay. Because the way I balance my tray of faith, family, health, work, and school is different than other people. And that’s okay.