Recently a coworker came up and asked me how I did it all. I had recently talked with a group of 4th grade students about writing for a national bike blog based in Austin. On top of that I work as the technical director in a local universities theater department, sing in a community choir once a week, write a monthly article for this blog, play in the local amatuar soccer league once a week, as well as be a father for 3 wonderful boys, and a husband to one very understanding woman. We also help with our church, ride bikes as often as we can and try to be a normal family. My coworkers question, got me thinking I was just a little spread out at the moment. I was able to keep all of the plates in the air….but just barely somedays. The people feeling the greatest effects of all of this over commitment was my wife, who was spending bunches of time acting as a single parent, and my boys, who always want to spend as much time as possible with dad. The following week, my wife went to the our Doctor for her annual well-check, and when he was sitting down with her, he asked her what her top five things were, and then if she was making sure those top five things were getting the most priority.
All of this conversation about setting priorities, just confirmed what I secretly already knew, but wasn’t willing to address, I needed to pair down my time commitments if I wanted to make sure I kept my family as the top priority. For me this is not an easy thing to admit, and I found myself trying to group things together so I could justify keeping multiple activities (ie. soccer, bike commuting, and cyclocross = physical activity) or (community choir and theater work = Fine Arts). I decided that in order to really get this under control, I was going to need to be more discerning, there would be no cheating. So here goes, this is my current top five. This five is an attempt to put what is important at the top of my time commitments, does it mean I won’t do the other things, no, but it does mean I am going to now prioritize and say “NO” if time doesn’t allow for the important things in life.
The hardest thing about this list, for me, is admitting that soccer is just taking up to much of my time, and it isn’t even a priority. I will still religiously follow my favorite teams, and watch way to much soccer on TV, I will also continue to run my Fantasy Premier League, but the days of me getting out there and limping around trying to hold on to the illusion of youth are over.
As the boys become old enough to start participating in organized activities (soccer, biking, theater), I will have to move that up the list. For the time being this is my list, and I am going to enjoy it while I can.