Big Little Priorities.

I've been hyper aware of the way I've been spending my time lately. Perhaps its because of the added hours of sunlight thanks to Daylight Savings and my attempt to use every extra minute for something productive. Either way, I'm finding myself re-evaluating my priorities and the way I fill my time. If you were to ask me what was most important to me, I'd tell you that my faith, family, and friendships were at the top of the list (cliche, but sincere). Yet, if you were to follow me around for 24 hours, you'd have a hard time believing that to be actually true. I'm discovering a large gap between the perception I have of my current priorities and the reality of them. A reality that includes three of the following: 

Validation from Others

From the time I wake until the time I fall back into bed, my phone is usually glued to my hand. And while there is the occasional text or phone call to beloved friends and family, the majority of my screen time is centered around social media posts, updates, and other tragically irrelevant information. The shallow validation this sort of attention allows me, leaves me only partially content with my place in the world and feeling wildly inadequate to meet the demands and expectations imperative to my desired level of social acceptance.

Validation from Success

Beyond the screen, I'm fighting for perfection and success in my career, which offers similar returns. I strongly believe in working hard and setting professional goals, but there is a fine line between finding pride in your hard work and letting your job define who you are. There is a limit to the amount of control we have in this area of our lives, and to expect more of ourselves than giving it our best is an attempt to control that which is out of our reach. Life is too short to live under the weight of self-inflicted pressures of perfection. 

Self Importance

For the better part of 27 years, I've lived with other people. My sister and I shared a room entirely too late into our teen years. In college, I had a minimum of two other roommates, and only recently did I move into my own place. It was a surprisingly hard transition. While I enjoy the certain freedoms that come with living alone (read: dancing to Timberlake in my underwear), I also find it near impossible to keep from becoming completely self-centered. When you live alone you rarely have to think of anyone else.  When it comes to TV, I watch what I want, when I want.  I can play music as loud as I want. I go to bed when I'm tired and wake up when I'm ready. I wear pants when I feel like it and eat ice cream when I'm not hungry. I could go on for days. Don't get me wrong, I believe that self care is important and it a necessity to make time for ourselves. But I'm realizing that it takes even more discipline to turn attention from myself to the needs of those around me, without being reminded on a regular basis. 

We are never too old or too smart for some good old self reflection. So I'm taking this opportunity to focus on re-prioritizing what's actually important to me. There are little guarantees in life, so very few things that we can control. So why not spend the time we do have investing in the things that mean the most to us?   

Stephanie Zillmer