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“Why is that pile of papers not straight? I know that’s not how I left it. What is going on? I know I just alphabetized those books – why the hell is there an S title next to a B? It’s making me nuts! I’d love to fix that before I leave, but there just isn’t enough time. Honey, don’t wait up for me. There’s something at work I’ve got to get just right before I come home.”

I sometimes wonder if the things I do are really worth my time. How do I really spend my days? Do I spend them based on what I actually value? Or are they activities that convince me of my self worth.

In the situation above, is it possible I assume that to be acceptable, I have to make everything exactly right? If I don’t allow myself to believe that I am not enough, can I ever do enough to be enough? I may understand in theory that I am acceptable the way that I am, but that ever-persistent assumption has gotten me into a pattern of seeking the impossible goal of perfection.

The first step to changing that pattern is noticing that it exists. Once I have done that, I can pause in mid-activity and offer myself a choice. Do I want to “scratch that perfection itch” or can I remind myself to do the best I can do and then choose to spend the rest of my time on other pursuits?

I am really appreciating the importance of making conscious choices about how my time is spent. I find it so easy to let time pass with little awareness of how much time has gone by and how it has been spent. Actively examining what I really value, I can explore ways to prioritize my time to reflect those values.

Sometimes that means giving up or spending less time on certain things to make sure there is enough time for pursuits with more priority. This just happened when my daughter called to touch base as I was writing this blog. I chose to postpone my writing, answered her call and spent 20 minutes enjoying a wonderful connection with my adult daughter.

Sometimes prioritizing my time means putting something into my schedule to make sure that I actually do spend time on it. I have always understood the importance of self-care, but I spent little time on myself. When I finally scheduled in a daily half hour of meditation and energy work, the emotional and physical benefits have been enormous.

I am also aware of the myth that can make me believe that I have all the time in the world. Having a father who was sick from the time I was 12 helped me to appreciate the preciousness of time and the importance of using it while we have it at our disposal.

That awareness led me to prioritize choices of how I spent my time that left me with fewer regrets than I otherwise might have had. Several years ago, my mom lived not far from me. Whenever I passed by her street and thought about her, I made it my business to stop for a hug and a chat, no matter what else I thought I had to do.

Does this phone call sound familiar?

“Hi ma. It’s probably good I got your machine. I know I said we’d get together, but I have to cancel again. I’m really busy today. I’d love to see you, but I have so much to get done in so little time. Between the house, the kids, the jobs…wait, another call is coming in. Hey sis. What? What do you mean she’s in the hospital??”

My mom passed away a little over two years ago. I am grateful for every one of those hugs and chats. I wish you many meaningful moments well spent, and as few regrets as possible…

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