Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When Priorities Change

I think the older we get, the pickier we become about how we spend our free time. I know I am. Back in high school, when the school day only lasted from 8:25-3:00, there was plenty of time in the evenings for fun. And, at that age, I know I certainly had more energy to do things like go to movies, concerts, hang out with friends, and stay up to all hours of the night.

But as time has passed, I have certainly noticed how not only my interests have changed, but my body has as well. I now work full time, have a husband and step-son, and have a new home to keep up. It's amazing how exhausted I feel most of the time. When I think back to when I was in high school, I'm amazed at how I had the ability to get up at 6:30 in the morning, be at school all day, participate in any after school activities, do homework, work part time, make time for friends, and usually not get to bed before 1-1:30 in the morning. Now I struggle to stay up past 11:00. I just can't run around like I used to. Even if I wanted to, I think I'd have to have a caffeine IV permanently attached to my body.

In addition to my lack of energy these days, I've also noticed that my free time has become even more precious to me. When working 40+ hours a week, the weekend becomes almost sacred. I value the ability to sleep in so much more than I ever have before. I'm pickier about how I spend my quickly fleeting 48 hours of time spent away from the office. Especially when at least half of that free time is spent catching up on running the much needed errands, grocery shopping, cleaning house, etc… And then of course, a quarter of that time is spent catching up on sleep.

I’ve learned that as we age, our priorities change, mostly because they have to. Here are a few ways my interests and priorities have changed:

  • I now have a husband whom I want to spend every second of my free time with.
  • I now have a home that I'm interested in decorating, cleaning, and improving.
  • I have a larger interest in cooking- not only because it's cheaper and healthier, but because I enjoy spending the evening with Michael, and having a home cooked meal on the table.
  • I take pride in a clean house, a well kept yard, and having a relaxing space to sit and watch the sun set.
  • I now like spending more time at home whereas a few years ago, I couldn't wait to make plans for the weekend.
  • I don’t have to be going and doing every second of the day.
  • I’ve learned to appreciate just being.
  • I value surrounding myself with people who appreciate the same things I do as well as offering different points of view.

So to sum it up? Yes, I've become selfish with my free time and more particular about who that time is spent with; and, I think most people, who are in the same place as I am in life, have as well. And I know I'll probably become even more selfish with my time when Michael and I start a family. As I said, priorities change, usually because they have to.

This summer has taught me a lot about myself and what I place value upon. And I’ve learned that with having only two days out of the week that really belong to me and my family, I should be selfish about how that time is spent. And that’s okay, regardless of what anyone else may think.

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