Today I am sharing the 3 questions I have been asking myself on a regular basis in 2020.
1: Will this matter in 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 months, 5 years?
Initially, this was a question that I started asking myself when I became a stepmom. I was completely lost at dealing with step-everything and found Jamie Scrigmeour’s blog. One of the things she recommends is the 5/5/5 rule.
I added the 5 minutes and 5 hours, because let’s be real, 2020 is about 50 years long already. Sometimes the minutes and hours are the longest parts.
However, in addition to the step-parenting situation, I also started applying it to all situations that felt out of my control. Before I respond to anything or anyone I ask myself that question: will this matter in x,y,z?
Here is why I started thinking and asking questions this way:
- Applies to more than just parenting responses
- Helps me not lose my cool
- Puts things into perspective
- Avoids knee jerk reactions.
I always say: don’t make permanent decisions based on temporary feelings and situations.-Me
By asking myself these questions, I started being able to stay in the moment in a good way.
Remarkably, this question has helped me look positively to the future instead of stewing in negativity and sadness of the moment. It helps me remember that this too shall pass, and I can only control my reaction. While I cannot control other people’s reactions, I cannot control the virus, I cannot control all the aspects of my jobs, I CAN control how I react and respond.
So, the next time you find yourself not knowing what to do in a moment, ask yourself the question: Will it matter in…? Let the answer guide your response and reaction.
2: When you’re 85 and look back on your life, what do you want to see?
I’ve been asking myself this question for years, but only in 2020 did I find some real answers.
First of all, I want to see a life of many paths, creativity, connection, and love.
Secondly, I don’t want to be scrimping for money when I’m 85
Honestly, investing in yourself and your future is important. Money isn’t everything, but we have to hope for the best and plan for the worst. Being wise with money and with our material assets has a great impact on our lives.
Tragically, we live in a culture that does NOT respect the aging or the elderly. Our society does not care for our aging friends and families well. Just take look at long term care facilities and the issues of ageism in the USA.
These facts scare me. I have a heart for our elderly community, and before COVID had just started working with a few local care facilities to bring live music to residents. Unfortunately, this project was derailed, so now I have to find new ways to give back to those communities.
Thirdly, I want a community of friends and family around me when I’m elderly. People matter. The connection we make with others matters. Our personal and collective legacies matter.
The question of where I want to be and what I want to see when I’m 85 has shaped the decisions I make today, and it can for you too.
3: Does x,y,z bring you joy?
Let me tell you, If it doesn’t, say BYE!
Obviously, in March EVERYTHING was ripped away very quickly. We were forced online. Families were forced to go into our homes. Everyone lost the workaholic schedules. Colleagues lost the water-cooler chats. The darting from one place to another ended. But, we gained time.
For me, it made me slow down. Slow WAY down. This weekend was the first time since March I had a week/weekend workload similar to my previous life, and I’m still processing how I feel about it.
I taught over 20 private lessons, a studio class, 2 day a week academic class, had rehearsals, had a gig, taught chamber music, had the step-kids here, hosted family for dinner, secured a few new clients, recorded a podcast, recorded an instructional video, blogged, and did chores.
Part of me thrives on this level of work. However, part of me wonders what the heck just happened?
Truthfully, there are aspects of the slowed down version of life that I prefer. So, how do I find balance in doing the things that make money while keeping the time I so cherished during the covid-slow-down?
Interestingly, that is something I have to keep working on and figuring out one day at a time.
For example, this weekend in Houston, we had our first morning of sub 70 degree weather! So, Dan and I had coffee on the lanai. (I love that word, by the way. I am a diehard Golden Girls fan, and that word makes me very happy.)
Sometimes, there are things we have to do that do not bring us joy. The question here is about big and little stuff. Big things include: jobs, where you live, how you live, people. Small things: furniture choices, clothes, meals, hairdos, etc.
If it doesn’t bring you joy, then say BYE and move on to better and brighter possibilities.