Originally posted 1/22/2014
“There are moments in life, and they happen so infrequently that they tend to really stand out, when life hands you the gift of perspective. Sometimes, we forget to show our appreciation. Sometimes, we get our priorities mixed up. And, sometimes, we forget how far we’ve come. But life always has a way of nudging you to remind you about these important things.”
― Cassia Leo, Bring Me Home
Perspective and priorities – how quickly we can lose track. The other evening I had dinner with my friend and we talked about getting older and how things happen in our lives that we did not plan for, let alone being so very different from the dreams we had. And how sometimes little things take on a life of their own in the midst of our problems.
My friend, who survived a serious illness, talked about how, after her put on weight and was put on weight and was discussing with her doctor about how much she didn’t like those extra pounds. Her doctor looked into her eye and said: “So after all you have been through, just get a bigger size.” My friend laughed and thought – “Yes- of course.” Those few words totally put things into perspective for her.
So I love that story. Sometimes we are faced with small or large issues and life challenges but we can only focus on that issue as if it were the only thing. It seems so big and it takes on a life of its’ own, but, in reality, it is not all there is. Like the other day, I was paying my ticket at a parking garage and the cashier said to me “Senior discount ?” She repeated it three times, and I am staring at her with a blank look thinking “Huh me?” I looked around and thought she was talking to someone else. Then I realized she meant me – Oh no!! I was appalled. I guess I still have my vanities that I hold on to (and realized I needed a touch-up). My life has been so focused on a family medical crisis that I have been unable to even take care of the basics. But in the end, it made me laugh because I knew that my hair color was not as much of a priority as it always has been and that I still could laugh.
Both of these little stories are great examples of how life was “nudging” me to remember the important things.
So how do you put things in perspective, given all of our challenges, frustrations, daily tasks, and innumerable priorities that we think we must deal with each day?
- First – Make of list of what really matters in your life – each day!! Tuck it into your wallet or paste in on a sticky note on your computer. Keep it right in front of you, look at it each time you open your wallet. Ask yourself if what you are doing is really, really important and make decisions accordingly.
- Second – Look for options. Ask yourself – “What will happen if I postpone this task or lower it on my priority list? Is everything really a ‘must’ ”? Ask different questions – “Am I really required to do this? Can I just do some, or not at all? How can I do something different that will bring me more joy and get me closer to me goals?” These little questions are very powerful and it will help you to focus on what it is really important.
- Third – Laugh at yourself and your circumstances. Stop taking yourself SO seriously! Go get a bigger size. Find the joy, find the smiles in little things which will go a long way in helping you see what is truly important in your life.
Enjoy this moment and this day.