You are your priorities
Looking at my planner (one of the things that I simply refuse to convert to digital), you can tell what’s important to me: yoga classes are written in with precise times and locations, at least one night a month is reserved for girls’ night with my three closest friends in the city, an easily decipherable mish-mash of airport codes and numbers for travel plans, specific time set aside for dinner, drinks, “reading dates” with my boyfriend.
My iCal on my home computer holds a loose schedule for upcoming posts (although publish dates and ideas are moved around practically on a daily basis); Google Calendar on my work computer contains meeting invites, deadlines, ongoing project items. I live according to my calendars, and so I try to make sure that I schedule in time for ALL of the things that are important to me: a yoga class holds the same weight as a coffee meeting with a friend as a weekly check-in with my boss. Being healthy, happy and successful are intricately woven in my life: I want to be all of those things, but not at the sacrifice of one for the other.
Back in 2012, I wrote a post on a few of the life lessons I’d learned: Because it’s commencement speech season is still such a good container for so many of the things I try to live by. It was inspired by a piece in The Wall Street Journal by Charles Wheelan, and there is one quote that I still reference three years later:
“Don’t model your life after a circus animal. Performing animals do tricks because their trainers throw them peanuts or small fish for doing so. You should aspire to do better. You will be a friend, a parent, a coach, an employee—and so on. But only in your job will you be explicitly evaluated and rewarded for your performance. Don’t let your life decisions be distorted by the fact that your boss is the only one tossing you peanuts. If you leave a work task undone in order to meet a friend for dinner, then you are “shirking” your work. But it’s also true that if you cancel dinner to finish your work, then you are shirking your friendship. That’s just not how we usually think of it.”
Yoga teacher training is constantly asking for more of us: more time, more effort, more focus. It tells us to schedule a home yoga practice and a daily meditation practice, to practice our chants and incorporate deep breathing, to become not only vegetarian but also conscious of where our food comes from. If my life felt full before, it’s overflowing now.
But the greatest lesson that I’ve learned is about recognizing what is a priority for me. There are some days when it’s going to a yoga class, but there are other nights when I just need to curl up on the couch with a magazine. I recognize how good I feel when I wake up before my alarm clock and meditate, but sometimes I still just really, really want to sleep in another 15 minutes. If I’m happy drinking green juice and making salads for lunch 95% of the time, I’m not going to beat myself up when I indulge in a greasy cheeseburger after craving it all day.
I want to be an authentic yoga teacher and a dedicated employee–but before I am those things, I’m a daughter, a friend, a girlfriend, a roommate. For the past few months, I’ve had to shift my priorities away from my relationships in order to focus on YTT, work, this blog. But the last thing I want to do is shirk those relationship duties: you can always make more money and you can always have more things, but you can’t always replace the really good people.