If you're like me, you hear people use the world "season" to define segments of their life. Its popularity stems from it's innate segmentation of time, and the consciousness of humans that (almost) all things come to an end. One of the best parts about living where I live is that all four seasons of nature are experienced in totality. And with the current changing of summer to fall, I have done a lot of thinking of the changing of seasons in my own life.
With my trip to Europe aside, I came out of a relatively quiet summer season. it was a relaxing, much needed rest from the usually break-neck pace of my life. That season feels like an eternity ago, however, now that everything is back in full swing. And with the change of pace comes a change in priorities.
For the past two years my life has run relatively the same, but this year I have been taking on additional work and leadership as well as developing relationships in new places. With these changes, I've had to decide where my priorities lie. And it hurts to let certain things go, or even to flat out say no to them. But there comes a point where you have to decide your priorities, or else you're doing everything but doing nothing well. Sometimes I have to say no in order to keep my career healthy; sometimes I say no because I'm mentally exhausted and need time to recharge. Sometimes I even say no because I want to spend that time cleaning my room, or organizing my desk, or just being alone.
Priorities are hard, and I'm working on not feeling guilty for putting my health (mental and physical) above other things in my life. I'm learning to say no without giving excuses, because sometimes I don't have them, and I don't need to. I'm also learning to say no to work when my social meter is a little low, or when I get too addicted to working (read: all the time).
If you've ever played the Sims, you'll understand that there's nothing more stressful than seeing your mood meters in the red. If you've never played, your characters moods are split into eight categories, all of which can be affected either positively or negatively by the choices you make. When your Sims' meters are all in the red, they're basically impossible to please and the game starts to feel like a chore. I always think of my own mood in the same way, and it helps me prioritize. I commit to things I know will fill me up, not bring me down. I say yes to things that may make me tired or uncomfortable, but I know that these are only short term consequences for long term rewards.
Entering into adulthood has quickly taught me that I'm only as effective as my body and mind allow me to be. That means that eventually, saying yes to everything will only wear me down. Even though I still have crushing guilt turning down an invitation or indulging in something that only benefits me, I know that I have to do it sometimes to be my best self all of the time.