Evaluating Priorities


From the time I was a little boy I loved sports.  At the age of 4 my dad was coaching Seibert’s little league in the summer.  He had me chasing foul balls, collecting the bats, and organizing helmets for the players.  I’ll never forget the first time he let me hit when he was pitching.  I remember hitting the ground ball to him and he allowed me to run as fast as I could to first before he threw me out.  Sports was my life.

When I entered high school I lettered in 4 sports every year.  Seibert was a town of 200 counting the cats and dogs.  We had 40 students in the high school, 10 in my class, so it wasn’t hard to take part in all sports.  I played football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and track and baseball in the spring.  Sports was my life.

In college I was on the baseball team and majored in physical education.  As you can imagine I was in the athletic facilities between 6-8 hours per day.  These experiences became the backdrop for my being interested in sports as a participant as well as an observer.  I’m telling you this because of the experience that happened three weeks ago.

On Saturday college football happens.  It happens all day.  It happens on two to four stations simultaneous.  I got sucked in and watched 4 football games back to back with channel switching to 3 more games during the day.  At the end of Saturday I had been saturated with football, but something was sacrificed in the process.  My spousal relationship.  Don’t get me wrong.  Nadine is a big football fan and especially a Bronco fan and a die-hard one at that.  So she wasn’t complaining with me watching football, but she felt somewhat neglected when all I did was focus my total attention on football.  And she was right.

When I looked at the benefit I received from watching 12+ hours of football, I couldn’t come up with one positive outcome.  I was emotionally drained from the stress of seeing the ebb and flow of each game.  I didn’t get any exercise and so all the snacks I ate went to my waistline.  I got more and more uncomfortable sitting for such a long time.  I had to use procrastination for the things that needed to be done over the weekend.  And to top everything off, I couldn’t remember a week later any team that I had watched.  It was a total waste of my time.

I decided right then and there that things were going to change.  I spent the next weekend doing things with my family.  I turned on TV and looked at the game I was interested in and the time it was being broadcast.  We sat down and wrote out a to do list of things that had hung on and were never getting accomplished.  The fruit trees were fertilized and retrenched.  The broken hook in Nadine’s closet was repaired and rehung.  Four valves on my automatic sprinkler system were taken apart and repaired.  Potted plants were mulched.  Potassium was bought and poured in our water softener system.  Most of all Nadine and I connected.

For the last 4 weeks I have looked at the schedule on Saturday’s and Sunday’s to see if there are any games that I am truly interested and then tell Nadine.  It has freed up hours and hours for connecting with the family and for getting those little to do’s done with the result of a feeling of fulfillment and connection.  We have watched selected football games over the last few weeks, but the outcome of my evaluating my priorities and making decisions in light of what truly is important has been a profound positive change in my life choices.

On this journey, our choices can take us to side roads and dead ends.  The sooner we become aware of the dead ends, the sooner we can get back to fulfilling our purpose on this earth.

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About James Gorton

I am happily married to Nadine, a person I've known for 20+ years. She and her late husband owned Airpark Auto Service where I took my car for years. Four years after my wife died we began dating and the rest is history. We have a blended family of 6 children between us and love visiting them across this country. We recently had our third grandchild between us. We love to hike, bike and ski. I am a psychologist and do relational life coaching for marriages and families primarily. I love what I do and never get tired of seeing marriages and families move to more healthy places in their lives. Five years ago my oldest daughter Deborah encouraged me to begin writing my thought into a blog I call my Jlog (Jim's log). I have become more and more passionate in connecting everyday experiences to spiritual truths. I hope that as you read my Jlog, you will gain insight into your personal life and experience true growth in your personal and relational life.
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