When my youngest son broke his right femur 5 years ago, I learned a valuable lesson.
Priorities can change in a heartbeat.
I went from planning my day around emails from clients & meal planning for the family to 24 hours-a-day taking care of Cami in the kid's wing of the hospital... literally in a heartbeat.
That was just a broken leg ("just" being a relative term versus let's say a brain injury or amputation or blindness or something). That snap of the bone changed my world for more than 8 weeks. Suddenly clients were forgotten, personal concerns evaporated, clutter-smutter! Time was irrelevant compared to the tasks and trials that needed attention.
My husband and I took shifts at the hospital around his work and Steve's last few days of school for the year (after all my older boy was still just 9 at the time). Sleeping on a cot was fine, no personal space (because nurses were coming in and checking every hour) was fine too. Living out of a cold, concrete room and walking down the hall to get refreshments was completely reasonable.... because my little boy -- my BABY -- was in traction, in a hospital bed, in a prone position! Going home when each shift was done was a strain on me. The priority for home was: make sure Steve was coping with the weird schedule, shower, eat something healthy, feed the cat, sleep. Clients were completely neglected, housework was left, I ate what was home because the idea of grocery shopping was crazy. In other words my life was turned upside down. In fact, our neighbours, who didn't know what was going on thought maybe my husband and I separated because of the disjointed attendance.
Then 6 weeks in a Spica cast (which included the trunk of his body and full leg) so my little boy was like a mannequin -- frozen in a semi-sitting position -- I had to carry him to the toilet and hold his stiff body there, he slept propped up on pillows, he lost muscle mass, and a whole summer of freedom. Rehab was quick, but painful when the cast came off just before school started.
We did what needed to be done. We adjusted, we all found a new "normal" and we carried on.
The lasting effect of this experience for me was the knowledge that sh!t happens then life goes on. All priorities can be tossed aside, and time can be found for anything if it's important/urgent enough.
Current priorities (alphabetically):
- Family - Finances - Friendships - Health - Home - Personal Growth -
the question is what order are these in? I know which ones SHOULD come first, but "urgent" matters (not necessarily important matter) intervene often enough to bump them all over the list.
It's nice to take a conscious minute to slow down and think about my priorities, really think about them, instead of just constantly reacting to what life throws my way.