Sunday, 12 October 2008

Rethinking priorities

It's been a tough, trying time lately. Work has been unbelievably challenging and busy, planning for a conference for more than 2000 people last week. The event was spectacular, and our team achieved so much, yet the cost was also high. The long hours (7am - 11pm most days) have taken a toll on me both personally and physically. I'm sick again and have lost my voice. (Actually, I think my sweetie is kind of enjoying that part.)

It's time to reassess priorities. A couple of years ago, I was completely stuck in a workaholic rut, and I know I have tendencies to do this again. It took a huge wake-up call for me to change my ways. This time, I can see I've entered the decline, but can also recognise that I'm in time to do something about it before too much damage is done.

Two things have made this really clear to me. The first is a video I watched a few months ago after the death of Randy Pausch and revisited today. Randy was a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University and his last lecture set the world on fire when it was released on YouTube. What made it even more memorable is that Randy knew he had terminal pancreatic cancer at the time, yet his lecture is upbeat, positive, and focuses on achieving your childhood dreams.

Watch it. All 1 hour 16 mins of it. Right to the end. The last line is incredibly poignant, and puts everything into perspective.

Randy Pausch died on 25 July 2008 and his legacy remains.

The second thing came from a headline I read this morning. Kyah is not expected to live until her third birthday next week, as her battle with neuroblastoma (cancer) returned last month. Her parents brought her birthday forward a week and threw a huge party at their home, some of which she was able to enjoy. Their blog about Kyah's journey is honest and emotional, and I will be glued to it during what might be Kyah's final week.

My situation is not anything like these two, but it's certainly time to rethink my priorities and regain balance in my life. Today was my first proper 'day off' from work in a very long time, and I spent much of it sleeping and a little bit of it getting some relaxation time in the sun. I want to go back to working towards my 101 in 1001 goals, as my intention with this project was to make the most of each and every day. I'm going to go back to dancing regularly, as I've missed it and our friends there. I want to take a lunch break during the day and not feel guilty about it. I want to appreciate my friends and enjoy the parties we are invited to, rather than viewing them as a costly distraction preventing me from getting more work done. I want to read for pleasure more frequently and spend more quality time with my sweetie, instead of working late each night and during the weekends when we should be enjoying the start of summer together.

Now, I just need people to make sure I stick to it!


Donna said...

I tried to quote on this yesterday but it wouldn't let me. I loved the book and the lecture, they were both awesome! I will check out the other blog as well. I am firm believer that our life is here for us to live and live it to it's fullest. Aren't we cheating ourselves if we dont? I for one am coming to that realization.

Sab said...

I need to get back to my 101 too. Having Marin really has changed a bunch of things for me. I hopee to watch that vid later!

Kelly said...

I loved The Last Lecture. Randy Pausch was so inspirational. Thank you for reminding me of this book and the things I learnt from it. I need to put them into practise much more often too.