Keeping it all together

Who will cry at your funeral?
That’s the question Amanda Milwee asks her husband, Pastor Mark
Milwee of First Baptist Church in Gilroy, when she sees him getting
too busy.
Who will cry at your funeral?

That’s the question Amanda Milwee asks her husband, Pastor Mark Milwee of First Baptist Church in Gilroy, when she sees him getting too busy.

“Then she says, ‘We’ll be the ones crying at your funeral,’ and that always makes me think about my priorities,” the pastor said.

With the multitude of choices – and obligations – that life has to offer, sometimes it’s hard to know when to say no. But staying balanced while juggling a busy schedule is possible, said Donna Cohen Cretcher, a family counselor in Morgan Hill.

Establishing a clear set of priorities can make it easier to know what you should be participating in, Cretcher said, because you’ll know why you’re involved.

“It’s positive that families have interests and want to do a lot of things. But you want to be able to be introspective about things and where they fit in your values and your priorities in life,” she said. “If you say your priority is with your family, but you’re never home, then it’s hard for them to know they’re the priority.”

If the funeral question seems too morbid of a way to determine priorities, Cretcher recommends asking a different question.

“Ask yourself: Is this commitment going to make me feel even more crazy?” she said. “If you have 10 different things on your plate, you have to make choices that reflect you’re taking care of yourself.”

If it helps, write down your priorities and keep the piece of paper with you, or hang it on a mirror or somewhere you’ll see it every day. When someone approaches asking if you can help with an activity or serve on a committee, visualize your list and ask yourself how the opportunity fits in.

Once priorities are set, delegate your time according to what you consider most important. Also, Cretcher said, don’t let external pressures persuade you to take on another activity. Instead, do something only because you truly want to. Many people look at how much their friends or next-door neighbors are doing in the community, compare their own activity level and feel a sense of guilt for not doing more.

“You can’t just keep trying to keep up with the Joneses. If the Joneses have their kids enrolled in 10 things, you don’t have to compete with that. It might be right for someone, but not right for another,” Cretcher said.

The perceived pressure to be more involved also stems from living in such a fast-paced society. Try to remember there always will be more opportunities to volunteer than you can possibly handle, Cretcher said, and realize it’s OK if you’re not involved in everything.

“You have to learn how to say no, and you have to teach your kids that, too,” Cretcher said.

If it seems more often that not that you’re married to your palm pilot instead of your spouse, acknowledge the fact that you abide by a schedule and make an extra effort to spend time together, Cretcher said.

“If you live your life by a schedule, then you just have to schedule in time together. Otherwise, it’s not going to happen,” she said. “Schedule in the Friday night dinners. If there are not games this weekend, schedule an afternoon out. You need to schedule in time for the people who are important to you.”

Leave your comments