January. The transition month back to “normality”. Normal work habits. Normal eating habits. Normal exercise levels. Normal attention to priorities. It’s the month where we forget about all the gratitude and special family relationships we tried to focus more on in December, right? Hopefully not!
This brings up the concepts of priorities and of how scalable our lives are, how adaptable we are to changing needs. By that I mean, how possible is it for us to take on extra stuff? Or keep the pace up in January, like what we did in December? What things got neglected in December, or just plain left out and off your schedule in December? Were they things that are incredibly important to you? Like visits with friends or calling family more? Or was it less important like binge-watching an entire season of Vikings, or The L Word. And how do we consciously prioritize things in our lives? Do you sit down with a calendar at the start of the month and put the most important things on the schedule first? Or go with the flow and do what feels like it needs attention the day of — or the moment of?
Our team at work was hit with some tough news over the month of December. The spouse of one of our team members was diagnosed with cancer. Then one of our team leaders was diagnosed with cancer herself. While this news is never welcome, and extremely difficult for the individuals and loved ones, it really is an instant perspective magnifying glass. Suddenly the priorities become clear REAL quick. Health. Family and friends. Quality time. These things become crystal clear in a heartbeat.
It’s not like many of us have extra time in our schedules to take on added priorities. The example at work would be if the supervisor gave you another project to work on over and above your already busy day/week/month. And you’d either say, “yeah, OK”, or you’d say, “sure, just let me know which of these other projects are lower priority and can wait until I’m done this one for you.” The example with your health would be at the doctor’s office when you get told, “I’m sorry to tell you, you have this life-threatening illness and you have to deal with this. And oh, your next follow up appointment will be in four weeks.”
The point here is that priorities matter. All the time. Every month. Not just December. The point here is also that we fill up our schedules with so many things that fall onto our plate. Things that we didn’t choose or ask for. Unimportant things. Things that maybe just serve others’ needs. We all have 604,800 seconds in a week. The same 525,949 minutes in a year. How do we prioritize those? How intentional are we being? How would things change if you received a life-threatening diagnosis today? How would your schedule change? How would your time be spent differently?
These are questions that are important to ask yourself in January. And February. And March. And so on. So that you don’t get to December 2020 and reflect back with guilt on the year that was. The year that still fully IS.