Priorities

on Jun 16, 2014 by Michael Rupured

My father taught me anything worth doing is worth doing well. Of course, he never actually used those words. Instead, he’d berate me for being half-assed. Thanks to this early training (or an undiagnosed personality disorder), I don’t do things by halves. Nope. Not me. I’m whole ass or not at all.

Insecurity nourishes my obsessive tendencies. To compensate for feeling like I’m not up to the task, I play to win and am always looking for ways to improve my game. This competitive nature, on occasion, makes me come across as a bit of a jerk. Time and success have softened hard edges, but insecurity still drives me to overachieve.

Life can be overwhelming. There’s always so damn much to do, and change is constant. With or without much thought, habits and routines adjust to accommodate shifting priorities. When my ideas about what’s important are out of whack, life kicks me in the ass. As I’m a bit of a slow learner, my posterior stays battered and bruised.

Becoming an author knocked me for a loop. Any semblance of balance disappeared from my life. My day job is very demanding. Writing can be all consuming. My two careers devour every waking hour, at the expense of everything else. Impatience is part of the problem. When I decide I want something, I want it NOW — not years down the road. Ain’t nobody got time for that. My backside suffers the consequences.

Although I’d like to write all the time, I can’t. Still, I’m lucky. In a few more years I can retire and make writing my top priority. Until then, because the salary and benefits make everything else possible, the day job comes first. Impatient me would quit tomorrow. But the practical side knows better, and after several heated discussions, finally convinced the rest of me to stick it out. The work still excites me, with enough challenges and opportunities to keep things interesting.

A host of medical problems in my late forties and a looming high school reunion pushed me to make exercise a high priority. I try to run and/or go to the gym every day, and more often than not, succeed. In the last two years, my time to run a mile has dropped from 14 minutes to just over ten minutes. I’m in great shape and more muscular than I’ve ever been in my life — all a bonus. The real accomplishment, aside from looking great at the reunion, was weaning myself from all the medications I was on.

Chores eat up the lion’s share of my remaining time. Again, I can’t complain. My house, yard, and dog are small enough to require little in the way of care and maintenance. My life is simple. Not having kids gives me time others don’t have, but I still have to work in appointments with my stylist, mechanic, veterinarian, assorted service providers, and doctors (dentist, periodontist, internist, dermatologist, retina specialist, orthopedic specialist, proctologist, optometrist).

Missing, you may have noticed, is much in the way of a social life. I do chat with several friends via text messages or chat on Gmail and Facebook, and I spend hours listening to my mother every week on the phone. Next week, I’ll catch you up on the love life I squeeze into my remaining time.

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