Making Choices Means Saying No… and Yes

I feel like I’ve been all over the gamut about my priorities lately. In the morning if I wake up early enough, writing is the biggest priority in my life and I should be focusing all my energy to writing. After practice, it’s roller derby. Middle of the day, it’s work and forwarding my career. Today Spanish came up. Right now, it’s my relationship.

The thing is, I can’t eat, breathe, sleep just one of these things. The others are important too, and I need to figure out a way to balance them because I can’t have everything, and I won’t give up everything in order to blow one goal out of the water. I don’t work like that, even though I keep thinking like I can. So, in no particular order, my priorities:

  • Derby. This is a huge priority. This eats my time, my money, my energy. It saps my strength. It asks me for more than I have ever given. I love it. It gives back.
  • My relationship.
  • Writing. It’s important to me to write. It’s important to me to meet the challenge I’ve set for myself, and it’s important to me to treat this as a gift and not a chore. I feel like lately I’ve let this slip into the cracks, hacking out something quick because I’ve left it to the last minute, or worse, not writing at all.
  • Work. I can’t say that I don’t feel like I’m making progress because I know that I am. But, work still feels like I’m ramming myself against the strongest four-wall of blockers in the longest jam ever and I’m getting knocked on my ass. I have to be patient. I have to keep fighting.
    • A subsection of work: Spanish. I feel like I’m losing it when I shouldn’t be and I know that bilingualism is going to be a major strength in my career. I need to make this more of a priority than I have been. #Goal17

These four/five things are my most important priorities. Saving comes right up there, but at least for the moment, I see it as a byproduct of focusing on these priorities instead of other things. If these are my most important priorities, then spending on them is money well spent.

But lately I’ve been spending on things that are not my priorities and that needs to change. I’m not in a place where I can spend freely. I need to think more about my choices. Which means cutting back/eliminating:

  • Drinking. I don’t say this because I have a problem with drinking, but drinking does not further derby, my relationship, my writing or my work. In fact, it gets in the way of those things because I’m taking in useless calories (they do nothing for derby), I’m out instead of hanging with the Boy, and I’m not writing because I’m tipsy that night or hungover the next day. It’s easy for me to justify drinking as a bonding activity—good for coworker morale or creating team cohesion, but I only go drinking with people I am already close to. Another margarita or a beer adds very little to our friendship. Plus, spending money on drinking means I have less to spend on practice, I feel less comfortable going out with Boyfriend, I write angsty posts about how much the end of the month will suck, and I’m not acknowledging my current paycheck.
  • Eating out. I don’t eat out much, but lately I’ve slipped up more. I haven’t prepared as many sack lunches for work, and I’ve gone out instead. Not often, but I’ve noticed an increase lately. Same problems as drinking (minus the hangover).
  • Staying up late. I love my friends, and I can easily spend hours hanging out with them and I do, which means that I go to bed later, I’m sleep later, and I’m still tired when I wake up. I do less writing. I’m less effective at work. I’m grouchy at home. Getting a bare minimum of eight hours of sleep is essential. More is better for me.

I know that there’s a lot to be said for enjoying yourself and enjoying the moment. But I think that it’s important to live in the moment as it exists in reality. The reality of this moment is that I don’t have the money to be going out, or buying beer, and I don’t have the energy to be staying up late (I know I’m 25. I don’t care). I can fake it for awhile, but is that really living in the moment? One of the pieces of advice that I go back to all the time is, “be who you are, be where you are, be what you are.” And this is where I am right now.

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