Compliments of janeandd via Flickr

Approaching a milestone birthday has given me pause regarding what’s truly important. Up until this point, home, career, and ensuring that everyone else is happy have taken priority.

If life is short (and my remaining days are finite), I’m left considering what to do with the remainder – which is focus more on personal pursuits that bring me pleasure. This includes a cessation to people pleasing, enhancing/maintaining my physical health, abandoning the worry mindset, and tossing my pursuit of perfection.

A writer suggested that instead of investing in an additional hour of work, that same time should be spent exercising. The lesson was that the extra money earned would be spent later on health related issues that result from personal inattention.

A friend once told me “If you have your health, everything else is gravy.” In our quest to outdo our neighbors we sacrifice the very thing that’s fueling our ambition – our body. If you don’t have a daily exercise/yoga/meditation ritual, then today is an excellent time to start.

Another strategy might be scaling back on your lofty ambitions and material cravings so your life can be less frenzied. This exhortation is even more relevant when you consider that achievement sometimes brings envy (not accolades), jangled nerves instead of joy, malicious gossip in addition to material wealth, and a realization that many do not appreciate your hard work.

The person you should begin pleasing is yourself. Precious little time on relaxation, friends, charity work, church, and family members makes us singular focused and obsessive – like a creature on a treadmill, we don’t see a stepping off point in the race to ensure our legacy. If you are always operating in fifth gear, you may not live to see the fruits of your labor.

If life is a balance, you need to give equal focus to its primary parts. More resources spent on the spiritual and our friends necessitate a better and more equitable distribution of our time. Type As do achieve more (and faster) than their Type B counterparts, but at the heightened risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

 Think about the role you could play as mentor if you’re able to stick around.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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