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My daily choices surround themselves around the fact that my life affects much more than just me. The decisions I make, even one as simple as not listening to my alarm, influences those around me.

If, for example, I wake up late, not only am I late but I inconvenience my husband, the staff at the daycare, and my fellow co-workers who expected a meeting to start at 8:00, not 8:15. So I guess what it boils down to is:

Be aware of how your actions and choices affect others.

One of the difficulties of having a family in today’s modern society is that there are so many pressures to participate in so many different activities. I’m a bad parent if I don’t allow my sons to be in soccer and baseball and church choir at the same time.

But what am I teaching them by stretching them (and my husband and me) so thin that their life becomes a blur they can’t remember? Am I showing them that taking time to just “be” is worthwhile, or is life only one big schedule that we’ll never master? I guess when it comes down to it, I want to show them that slowing down to be with one another is what will make them good communicators, good husbands, and good contributors to society.

Money is a hard beast to tame. It is necessary for survival, but it is also the impetus or the causing force for wanting to push harder, make more, and be able to experience what only money can buy. We all want a comfortable home and bed to fall into every night and a reliable car to get us where we need to go.

Is there anything wrong with that? No … until there is. Money can be consuming. The need to have more or compete with what others have is a terrible driving force that has led to many broken relationships, despondent feelings, and a funeral with few attendees. Money isn’t everything. Don’t make it so.

There are many conflicting messages out there that say we need to be this or need to be that to be happy, but, in my experience thus far, those things only leave me wanting more. I’m not satisfied if I focus on those things, as, in the long run, they don’t really matter.

Who’s going to care when I’m dead that I drove a Chevy Cavalier and not a BMW? No one. But what will last long after I’m gone is the impression I had on other people, the relationships I built. That is what is worthwhile. I could spend my life reaching to be good at that.

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Adrienne is a freelance writer and designer trying to be the best version of herself. She loves travel, good food, and beautiful typography.

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