I’ve been thinking a lot lately. My wife and I had a conversation about how we’re spending our time a few weeks back. We were both very independant before we got married. I ignorantly assumed that we would both be able to keep our independent personalities with a bit of crossing of paths for dinner and nightly snuggles. False.
Turns out, as I got more and more involved in school, work, and extracurriculars, Shalene picked up some things at school that she wasn’t completely sold on. She didn’t want to be a distraction when I was doing homework, so she did what she could to extend her workday.
Man, that hit me hard. I had never thought of how selfish I was being, but because of who I am, it really took a sit-down intervention like that to shake me out of it.
Here’s the deal. At the time we were having this conversation, I was taking 18 credits, working a job, running a business, trying to maintain PT scores for ROTC, got a time-consuming assignment for church (executive secretary), running a club as president/founder, participating in another club as treasurer, involved in yet another club, and started playing rugby. I had also only been married 6 months at that point, so you can throw a newlywed onto that list.
I revel in the praise of “I could never do that”. And because I am doing “that”, I get a heavy dose of pride injected straight into the ego.
But, while we were discussing the fact that we never spent actual quality time together anymore, I remembered stumbling across this bad boy back in December:
I loved it so much that I took a screen shot. While I didn’t physically create a list, I “woke up” to the haunting fact that I didn’t get any fulfillment out of anything I was doing. I had a bunch of activities on my list that would be a bullet point to tack onto my résumé, but they were restricting me from pursuing things that really mattered.
I have found great wisdom in the words of Derek Sivers, a successful entrepreneur when he says “No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or no.” In essence, if you’re not super excited about something, say no, and then you have time to do things that come up as you go along. You can read more on his blog about it here
A great example was picking up rugby and taking an indoor rock climbing class. Shalene and I are both in pursuit of finding some physical activity (or any activity, for that matter) that we can be passionate about. We totally envy the people who can go to the basketball court and shoot hoops for hours, or the girl who keeps her hiking boots in the back of the ole Subaru hatchback for impromptu ascents.
Rugby was about trying something new and wanting to be a college athlete, but it was also for points on my Order of Merit List (OML) “commissioning application” for ROTC. You get points for participating in things, that all factors into your national ranking as a cadet, and then ultimately, your status (active duty, reserves, or National Guard) and job in the Army. I wanted that sports point.
In the end, though, rugby wasn’t a great match, and practicing in the snow left me dead and broken at the end of every night to where I couldn’t muster the motivation to work on homework.
We broke it down. My top priorities are my relationship, my grades, ROTC, and church. Everything else comes second to those. Grades were slipping in tough engineering classes, I wasn’t going to the gym to better my PT scores, and Shalene and I had no quality time together anymore. In fact, she stopped telling me what happened in her day, not wanting to pile on additional stress to my hectic schedule.
It was at that point, broken and uncertain, that I figured out that being busy doesn’t mean you’re successful.
What really makes me happy is being romantic, being an entrepreneur, and working towards a career in engineering. I committed to dropping rugby, decided I wouldn’t be involved in so much, and really make time to expand my business, Prism Social, and spend time with my wife.
I can honestly say that I am happy.