Okay world, in case you haven’t figured this out, here’s one of my weaknesses: sticking to goals that are for me, and not for someone else. I’ve only been blogging for a few months, and only a few weeks consistently, and already a theme is developing: I can list off a mountain of goals, but my priorities always shift back to meeting someone else’s needs or working on a new project at school/work.
This problem became so real to me this past week, and while I’ve known it about myself for a while it felt so different having my wonderful husband point it out. About a week before three ladies from my college sorority planned to arrive in DC for their spring break, they sent me a communication asking if they could stay with us. While I would have hosted anyone in a heartbeat before I got married, my husband and I are currently living in a very small one bedroom apartment with our cat. On the night of their requested visit, I had a client meeting scheduled and would probably not be arriving home until after 10:00 p.m. Further, only one of these three ladies was actually in school at the same time I was, so I haven’t actually met the other two. You’d think it would be obvious that, with the craze of my schedule and our limited space/resources, we just couldn’t host three college-age women.
However, I felt insanely guilty about the possibility of turning down their request. For days, I mulled over how the situation might be able to work, and spoke with my husband about what he thought and how we might be able to shift our schedules to fit their needs. I brought it up with my friends at a St. Patrick’s Day party Thursday night, because I was trying to find a way to turn it down that wouldn’t make me feel so guilty!
While the reality was that I have many important obligations and my own sanity should be a priority for myself, I was unable to prioritize my own needs in the situation. It took Husband’s input, pointing out how hard I was working to do something I didn’t really need to do instead of working that hard to help myself be happy, healthy, or productive.
Growing up, I never learned to prioritize myself. As a pastor’s daughter, I had to say certain things, behave a certain way, and dress in certain clothes because it was what everyone else expected. My parents worked hard each day to make ends meet, while maintaining their music and their ministry, and I never saw them make time for exercise. We never had the money to pay for a gym membership, and church needs and functions were always prioritized over our family activities.
I find myself continually emulating these patterns. During college, I had this same lifestyle– I prioritized my relationships and my sorority’s needs over my own obligations, and spent little time going to the gym, eating healthy, or developing my own hobbies. Now that I’m in law school, it is much harder for me to forget my academic or work obligations, making it that much easier for me to ignore my personal needs. We make it to church only about once a month, and I make it to the gym or for a run maybe three times a month. I feel much more confident when my clothes are cute and days are so much easier when I plan ahead and steam/iron them in advance, but so often I oversleep, find myself grabbing random clothes from the dresser or closet, and feeling messy all day.
Why? Why am I able to finish any project on deadline, to catch typos in anything, and to rewrite and improve so many documents while I am unable to dedicate time to myself?
Well, that’s some food for thought. Hopefully I’ll have some resolution to this situation soon instead of just talking about it without putting an action plan into place. We’ll save that for next time.