Back to basics

Hello strangers! In what feels like a rare afternoon at home on account of Mother Nature getting in the way of a busy day, I've found a comfy spot, a strong internet connection, and some time to put words to something I've been thinking about a lot lately. With my 29th birthday flying by last weekend and the New Year just around the corner, I'm in the mood to both reflect and look ahead. 

This year feels like an amazing, busy, challenging, rewarding whirlwind. I finished school, got engaged, did some races, taught my first course at Western, got on the supply list, and bought a car, to name a few of the highlights. While I know I've chosen to keep things like my training, teaching fitness, and working part time on my calendar, I've also come to realize in this new level of busy just how important it is to be picky about what we say yes to in our lives and what we say no to. A few "I guess I'll go," or "Sure, I suppose I can do that" types of decisions this fall which left me feeling stressed out, drained, and resentful were enough to really hit that idea home. 

 Brent and I doing a little wedding planning at the venue. 

Brent and I doing a little wedding planning at the venue. 

 Me and my new wheels!

Me and my new wheels!

This idea of saying hell yes or hell no ties in well to what I want to talk about today, which is the idea of making time and prioritizing what is most important in our lives. With less time to spare, I've come to realize how I spend my time and have been trying (struggling, learning) how to manage my days. From a facebook hiatus when things were really on turbo mode to the use of a written dayplanner to the decision to take a break from swimming, I've been figuring out through trial and error how to make sure I have time to do the things I really need to or want to do in my life! Part of what's gotten me thinking is realizing how quickly this engagement year is going by, and knowing that from here on out life might very well get busier for a while as I'm hustling to get my career going the way I'd like it to and to really make some progress on some of the personal goals I have for myself! Now, I wouldn't say I've gotten it perfect--there are friends and family who I need to call and visit more often, and things which I want to focus more on now--but I have certainly learned that unless we decide on what we need and want most and consciously choose those things, we will be left feeling like we aren't living the way we want to. 

Those important things are what we value most--for me right now they're things like taking care of my body, building and maintaining a strong relationship with Brent, spending time with my friends and family, and career--and I've started to think about what else matters to me. For someone who used to have to dig to find her bedroom floor, I've come to realize the sense of ease I feel when my things are organized and tidy. This remains an area with much potential for growth for me, but more and more I'm realizing that making sure my surroundings make me feel good is key to my ability to enjoy the rest of my life! Getting clearer about what honouring the values looks like has also been a part of this puzzle. I've realized that I care about health and my fitness but I don't really need to be training two times a day to feel like I'm taking care of my body--I just need to do something that physically challenges me more days than I don't. 

I'd be surprised if you haven't heard the story about the professor who uses a jar and some big rocks, pebbles and sand to talk about priorities and how we spend our lives with his class. I like this video which illustrates the story, which goes something like this: The professor fills the jar with big rocks, and asks his class if it is full. Yes. He then adds pebbles to the jar with the big rocks, which fill in the spaces between the rocks. He asks if the jar is full. Yes. Finally, he pours sand into the jar, which fills in between the pebbles and rocks. He asks if the jar is full. Yes. Had he started with the sand, he teaches, there would have been no space for the pebbles nor the large rocks. In the same way, if we let our lives get filled up with the miniscule, unimportant things--for me, things like facebook or maybe the mindless shopping I can get into the habit of--we'll have no time for the big rocks (for me, those values I mentioned) or the pebbles (maybe things like bubble baths or reading or going rock climbing).

This is the story I'm trying to keep in mind as we head into one of the best--and busiest--times of the year, and as next year starts with what I'm sure will be a bang. I've come back to those big rocks, and started to ask what I feel like I'm missing. One of those things is coaching, and another is writing--I've been doing teaching some spin classes and the odd freelance story here or there, but this blog has been neglected and I didn't take on any new clients this fall. I know to make space for my coaching and blogging, it'll mean the same as it would for any client I'd chat with on the other side: choosing it and letting go of the things I don't really need. This idea of intentional choosing and letting go is what I hope will inform this holiday season and 2018 for me, and I hope it's something that might inspire you to make a little more time for the things you consider important, too. 

What are your "big rocks"?
Are you making time for the things which matter most? 
Where are you letting the little things eat up your time?
What are you willing to let go of? 
Do you have a theme that's carrying you into 2018?