Last week, I thought I was all dug out—from snow, from work, and from personal stuff that kept happening. But I guess the thing about digging out is that there can always be another storm just over the horizon. Because on Tuesday (my birthday), I got hit by an avalanche.
I woke up to a family medical emergency that caused me to spend most of the day in the emergency room. I also spent two nights at the hospital, feeling grateful that they allow family members to stay overnight in a patient’s room. And I’m deeply grateful that the crisis has passed and things look OK.
I’d originally planned to use my birthday as a day to reevaluate the promises I made to myself at the start of the New Year. Two months down the road, another milestone—it seemed like a good time to take stock. To tell the truth, I didn’t think I was doing very well keeping my self-promises and meeting my goals. But sitting in the emergency room, it didn’t matter so much. Don’t get me wrong—I’m all for goal setting, and I intend to get back to that. If I don’t have goals to work toward, I end up drifting from day to day without getting all that much done.
But there’s nothing like a sudden crisis to throw you into a different perspective. Things that seemed to matter a lot the day before just disappear. They’re still there, and they’ll matter again, but I can see them in a different context now. I have a tendency to let small things inflate, until they take on an importance that’s way out of proportion to reality. So I’ve been thinking about what really matters to me. Those are the things I want to emphasize in my life.
Now, I’m behind again at work and will spend the weekend getting caught up (digging out again!). Then I’ll go back and look at those goals and promises I wrote down in January. I think the most important promise I can make to myself (and I don’t remember whether I wrote this down at the beginning of the year) is to take time to appreciate the good things that I have in my life right now. That appreciation is another thing I’ll be digging out—and I’m not going to let it get buried again by overinflated problems and worries and responsibilities that, in the larger scheme of things, don’t really matter all that much. I don’t want to look back in regret at something I’ve lost. I want to appreciate what I’ve got while I have it.