I can only speak for myself but this pandemic has caused virtually every one of my priorities to shift. I always used to focus on deadlines and meetings and I still do to a certain degree but the power of Zoom and other venues has made attending meetings possible when other options weren’t readily available. I suppose this is one of the reasons that people who detest technology are finding themselves swinging on opposing sides of the pendulum. They are either embracing the change or bucking it as hard as possible. I think there’s more of the latter going on in many circles. This pandemic has brought to life one of the most valuable things around. That’s the mention of family.
When we are growing up, we rely heavily on family and friends. In many ways, it’s a safety net for us. Our priorities are to come through for various people in our lives. We have to do our homework and create opportunities out of our studies. We help our friends as we transition with the hormonal changes that we experience. We deal with the loss and gift of life. And we teach others with our actions towards one another on how we either wish to be treated or hope that we never treat others the same as what was geared behavior towards us. As we grow, our priorities shift. No longer do we think the same things are important that we did years before. We’ve either enhanced those priorities or changed them altogether.
There are many people who don’t pursue college but they do pursue different choices. Some go into the military while others learn from life itself in various different genres. Each person has talents that are unique to them and it’s up to that person to choose what choices they make. Sometimes the decisions are easy while other times they can be heart wrenching. I’ll give you some examples. Let’s say you’ve been in a serious relationship with someone for a long time. An opportunity arises for one of you and it means that one person has to go far away in order to pursue their dreams and goals. What happens to the other individual? Do they drop their life and go with them in hopes of finding happiness? Do they let the other person venture into the world while they go their own direction? I’ve seen and experienced first hand when you hang onto something or someone so tight that it can backfire on you. There’s never any clear answers when the heart is profoundly affected. I mean it might be clear to outsiders but for the people involved, only they can know what path is best for them.
When pregnancy is involved, there are difficult discussions and decisions to be had especially when it was an unplanned pregnancy and the parents to be are already in emotional conflict and financially unstable. There’s no easy answers. Some folks choose abortion. There’s a lot of groups who are against this. Some choose adoption. Others may choose to raise their child. What priorities do you think are running around in a young person’s mind when they are faced with the decision of having a child or not having one? Do you honestly think the decision is made lightly? While I am not encouraging or discouraging the decisions that a person makes about their own body, I am reminding everyone that the people involved are going to be the ones who deal with the decisions that are made. They have their own priorities to learn and grow from. If we aren’t willing to live another person’s life for them, then why are we so insistent on telling them what is right for them? Individuality is about being an individual. It’s not about living everyone else’s life. Not only would it get confusing but where’s the uniqueness in doing the same systemic patterns over and over? I have no right to tell a woman whether or not she should have a child. Before everyone jumps on the bandwagon and says “then they shouldn’t have had sex.” What if they were involved in a rape and became pregnant? Are you going to force that person to not only go through the trauma of delivering a child of rape who will carry psychological scars from the experience? If so, are you willing to admit your own part in the stigma of their mental health? There are serious issues that need to be addressed and not just swept under the rug.
Let’s talk about accountability. When we are at work, we have to prioritize our positions because they help to pay our bills. It’s imperative that we have ownership of our mistakes and be willing to educate ourselves with new knowledge that we acquire daily. Our priorities should be that of learning and growing in our fields but sometimes that’s not always the case. If you’ve ever heard of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall, then you may recall in their video the kids that were marching along like a regime. There are positions in this world that can feel as if that’s the role we are in. In order for all of us to find our happiness, we have to be willing to break patterns that are holding us back. It can be extremely difficult to do this when we have family that is dependent on us for their every need. Just remember it’s really important that you take care of you. If we don’t take care of ourselves, it’s really difficult to take care of others. Learn to make yourself a priority, even if it’s just for 15 min a day. You need a little bit of time to regroup and catch your breath.
So what if you have the shifting occurring in your life and you feel like you are losing control of the situation? Here’s a few things that you can do.
1. Don’t take everything personally. Yes, I mean this. Sometimes when change occurs, we see it as an attack on our own priorities. Don’t look for trouble. Take it for the changes that are presented and do your best to stay positive.
2. Stay focused. Sometimes this is easier said than done but it’s necessary if you want to stay mostly on track. There will always be things that side step you but if you want to break the monotony, you have to keep your focus on the things that are most important to you. Even if life takes you out of the equation and knocks you off the path you were originally on, you know what is important to you. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.
3. Keep communication and networks open. Let’s face it. The way to keep opportunities open when our lives change is to keep our communication skills sharp and our network growing. The day you stop your networking and communication is the day that you might as well just go into hiding. We all need each other. We help to not only build each other up but to keep each other going when we don’t know which direction to face. Never forget that we aren’t alone in this world unless we choose to be.
No matter what priorities may shift during your life, remember that everything we experience lasts for a season. Our seasons change as much and unpredictable as the weather. Be willing to adapt to all of life’s little quirks, irritations and joys. Every day is a day to be treasured and we all are a part of each other’s story. Learn from the lessons and create the chapters that have yet to be written.