Today, Memorial Day, I feel inspired by the word “sacrifice.”
Especially now, as I recover from this ankle break, acutely aware of how I spend my days, a question circles my mind: would I be at peace with my life if all was lost tomorrow?
The honest answer is, well, no.
Many of us need to put food on the table, keep the lights on and work to wear socks, bras, shoes and clothes without holes. When getting by is the real priority, devoting life to the pursuit of fulfillment is a luxury many of us cannot afford.
We sacrifice our true desires and dreams to create concrete circumstances every day.
If your life was memorialized tomorrow, though, what legacy would you leave behind in the stories people tell about you, in the way people feel when they think about you, in the contributions you made to society?
Maybe you’re already living it. Maybe in the way you love your children. Maybe in the way you speak up against oppression. Maybe in the kindness you share with everyone around you.
But if you’re anything like me, and crave that warm, whole feeling in your gut when you think about what you’re doing with your life, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate.
What do you sacrifice to get by?
After I broke my ankle, I only took one day completely off, and that was the day of the necessary corrective operation. The very next day, despite the pain, despite, then, the pain medication, despite the discomfort, I opened my laptop and went back to work.
It took me a while, but once I realized my commitment to pleasing others ranked higher than healing my own body, I knew I needed to shift.
For me, this shift means investing my time in what (I think) I came on this earth to do, but never save energy to pursue. Every day that I spend most of my time serving others’ wants and needs, I sacrifice my power.
I don’t owe anyone anything. I don’t owe anyone my mornings. I don’t owe anyone my thoughts before I go to sleep. I don’t owe anyone the sacrifice of my voice for the hope that their feelings, their goals, their lives will be better.
I do, however, owe it to myself to stop sacrificing my energy.
I owe it to myself to spend more time with people I stopped making time for once I got too busy and too tired.
I owe it to myself to speak the words I came to say.
I owe it to myself to give myself space to create.
What do you need to do that would help you spend more time on what fulfills you?
For you, it could mean taking an extra five minutes to cuddle with your kid or pup or partner in the morning, or turning off the alarm clock entirely. It could mean smiling at everyone you see—or canceling fake smiles once and for all. It could mean quitting your job, or it could mean showing up more fully if you know you truly love what you do.
We have this one life. How much do we need to sacrifice for things that don’t fulfill us?
“Only one chance, one bullet in the gun. This is my life and I only got one. Yea the safety’s off and I put it on stun—I’m ready to shoot.” —Last Chance, Nicki Minaj feat. Natasha Bedingfield.
Also, this was supposed to be really short. My bad 😉