Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Is it possible to have many priorities all of equal importance?
I have my job. My family. My activism. My friends. My weightloss. Which one of these is most important to me me? My family, of course, but after that? My job I have to do and do well. Regardless of what happens in the months to come, the aim of my life is not to be super skinny but rather, to life a meaningful life filled with excitement, adventure and did I mention meaning? So job and activism is important. Without friends, I'd sink into a massive depression and spend my life crying my eyes out. And of course, I need to lose weight. If nothing else, I'm so much happier when I'm eating lots of good food and doing plenty of exercising.
The problem is, I know myself and my tendency to prioritise everything else that I do before me - so work before sleep, friends before rest and family before healthy eating. And that is not good for me. I came to a position a couple of years ago that I was busy working from 8am to 9pm every weekday with 12 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday plus going out every night until 1am/ 2am/ 3am. It got to the stage that not only was I getting only about 4 hours sleep a night but I also never totally relaxed as I was always going somewhere and always, always with other people (apart from when asleep). Added to which I was consuming buckets of alcohol (always a good plan) and eating whatever I could find. There were days where I survived on Starbucks muffins for lunch because I just didn't have the two minutes to get a proper lunch. And the result of this sleep deprivation, constant working, irregular and unhealthy eating and massive quantities of wine/ gin/ vodka/ beer? My brain just short-circuited and the next thing I knew I was on the floor being told I'd just had a fit. I thought I had brain cancer (!) until the tests said my brain was normal and I was just severely overworked and needed to relax. I vowed then, and it's one that I renew to myself all the time, that I will never go back to a situation where that happens again. And I haven't.
I've come to accept that I can't fill my days more than I already have. Sometimes I have to work late (like the whole of last week). Other times I have to spend my nights attending meetings and planning in pursuit of the cause (like last night). Some nights I have to stay at home and do job applications (like tonight). And there has to be nights that I put all the above to one side and hit the gym and sweat. Above all, there have to be times (occasionally yes, but they do have to exist) where I just get home early and spend the evening cleaning the kitchen (Friday night - boo!), reading and watching TV. Of course, the only time I seem able to relax is when I go home to visit my parents for the weekend - I guess for now, when I'm in London, mopping the floors will have to do.