Really think about that question and ponder it daily. At the end of your life, what do you want to have focused on and placed your energy in? Relationships? Work? Creativity? Technicality? Yourself? Others?
This past July was crazy for many reasons, but in the midst of the emotional turmoil and literal constant transitions (I moved twice and will move twice this month too), it has made me realize what I really care about.
This summer has been a whirlwind of too many things for my taste. But it has been essential nonetheless. On the surface, people might scoff. I’m only working one unpaid internship, with irregular work dates. How am I feeling a ‘whirlwind’? Aren’t I just lazy?
I certainly am the poorest of the poor currently. No money is being spent out of this girl’s pocket if I can help it. Luckily I’ve been raised frugally, so missing out on a couple shirts or snacks isn’t a huge deal for me. So if you prioritize work, maybe you’d say I’m having a pretty unsatisfactory summer. If you value money, you’d say that’s an utterly terrible season.
But I’m not measuring it by those things. I do certainly love my work, even though it’s not paid. Ironically work and the lack of money have not been what has made July such a rollercoaster.
Let me back up. We all have to prioritize in this lifetime. It’s not an option; you either consciously or subconsciously do.
For me, this journey of prioritizing started at the beginning of 2018, when I hoped for a year of stillness and received anything but… because the other side to prioritizing is having the world shove prioritizing opinions at you in 50 billion different ways.
Remember: only you can solidify what your priorities are.
In May, I had the opportunity to broaden my culture just a little bit through my gorgeous roots in Ireland. As I sit here crafting this message to Irish songs, I’m once again uplifted by something that does matter to me: human culture.
Work is fleeting. Money is fleeting. People are what ultimately matter to me. Helping and/or starting conversations with people through entertainment is essentially how I will pick careers in the future.
Fast forward to July, after I had grown accustomed to my internship, living situation, and finished my classwork for my study abroad trip, and I found myself pulled in a billion directions. Have you ever been in such a scenario?
I found myself pulled to have relaxation time after a stressful and emotionally taxing academic year, job hunt relentlessly to gain money, participate in July NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to ease my inner doubts, establish a strict exercise regimen (which I need to delve back into…), start worrying about THE FUTURE (why do we have to worry?! No thanks.), and be the most social of butterflies.
You’re probably still confused. No, none of those things are terrible, and they’re all manageable for the most part. However, as I started to juggle all of them at the beginning of the month, I swiftly realized they were not meant to be my priorities for the summer OR my life.
I gave up social media at the end of June, which certainly improved my use of time this month. The first week of July I realized my housemates and I had to move for the month, which was definitely a frustrating wrench in my plans. I had to move at the end of the school year, fly to Ireland, move every couple of days in Ireland, move to my summer housing, and I would be moving at the end of July and then back to school in August, which meant this unexpected move would bump my total to 7 (not including all of the Ireland transitions). THAT’S A LOT FOR 3 MONTHS! Then an added stressor came that week concerning a friend who seemed too out of reach to help in a very scary way.
The second week of July, I realized I struggle with singleness and idolizing relationships, which sent me into bouts of frustration and necessary spiritual time. Then last week, this same issue cropped up in a different way and sent me back into much needed spiritual and friendship guidance.
In between those two weeks, my family decided to put my life dog down, and it ended up being pretty grief-filled. And this past week I’ve been on a much-needed family vacation.
Essentially, the result of such constant and pressing emotional turmoil forced me to my Bible, and made me realize my main priority is my faith and relationship with God. That is something I want to prioritize for the rest of my life, and it won’t change, whilst my job positions, friends, writing projects, and even living loved ones will constantly change. And in my mind, without faith, what’s the point of striving to write a book or establish relationships? Life’s pretty gruesome without it.
Resultantly, I released my NaNoWriMo goals. That’s not to say I don’t care about writing or my novel, but it’s just not at all what I want to prioritize in this season of my life. And frankly, not at all what I NEED to prioritize.
Someday, my story will get published. I’ve honestly had fears I can’t accomplish novel projects without NaNoWriMo, but I’ve since let go of that lie. It’ll all get done. But not today. Not for a while. I’m going to focus on my faith, my friends, my family, my future job, and my future creative projects for the next year. (And I’m not talking novels!)
Here’s to loving people. Here’s to delving deep into my faith.
I’ve figured out what matters to me. What matters to you?