Family First

March 12, 2008 at 3:32 pm Leave a comment

I haven’t blogged in a week because my whole family was here visiting from places East and colder. We dropped everything and hung out every day together at the beach house they rented down the road. We were all healthy and the weather was lovely. It was a gift of a week.

If I’d have been rushing to get back to the computer, or cart my toddler to activities, this week, I would have missed both family time and the opportunity to actually focus on enjoying the moment — the rare and brief and once every ten years moment that is my whole family getting together. So, I let it all go and just said “family first.” I’m not available for other requests for these few days.

It’s easy to say “family first,” but I think not always easy to act on. “People first,” is another way to say it. “Loved ones first,” another. But, to actually do this, we often have to forfeit some ego, some external rewards, some supposedly important plans.

For me, at least, saying “family first” this past week felt so right, so liberating and so real. Sure, I didn’t get as much done. I didn’t make any progress on becoming a hugely successful writer or cleaning out my piles of paper begging to be sorted. But, funny enough, two paid assignments still fell in my lap. No, they aren’t for the New York Times, but I sure feel good about them because I can still do them and keep my focus on the people who matter to me most.

What I wonder now is if we really do have to forfeit anything to choose “loved ones first,” or if that’s just a cultural myth that keeps us working and wanting. I may have let go of certain plans this week, but I still got the work I need and I got a much better peace of mind to boot. So I can go into this work not resenting it, or not burnt out, but feeling pretty well balanced or at least true to what I say matters to me.

Now, this is not to say those loved ones are perfect. Even in our happy family week there were a few incidents of rolled eyes (among adults) and scolded kids. But, the point is not to strive for perfect everything, or perfect anything, really — perfect family or perfect relationships or perfect time — just to appreciate what we have as it is.

And to stick by what is priority to us.  (For me, it is family; for others, it may be something else, but the point is, to paraphrase Ghandi, to have what we think, say and do be in line.)  Then the rest of “success” will come to our lives; it just may look different than (or perhaps just like) what we had actually imagined.

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Entry filed under: Having It All, Life.

Monthly Affirmations Jack Johnson

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You are visiting "Having Enough (In a Have-It-All World)"...

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To spark conversation about redefining success (as individuals, families and institutions) and to counter "never enough" messages currently circulating in our culture.

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Megan Pincus Kajitani: Writer, Editor, Former Academic Overachiever and Career Counselor, Mom, Wife, Feminist, Gen Xer, Californian who believes that change is possible View Megan Pincus Kajitani's profile on LinkedIn

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