Importance - 2015

Finding a person with a busy schedule these days is similar to seeing a fish in the sea.  Most people have places to be and people to see.  The addition of electronic efficiency makes it even easier to double book or to layer things on top of each other closely.  There are times when we can do it all.  There are times when the physical health of our body says no.  There are times when our spouse requests no.  There are times when the mental state of our mind says no.  In these times, how should we decide what's important?

There are plenty of guides that tell us how to live and what should hold priority in our lives.  This blog is not meant to be another one of those.  I am of the belief that society should have principles and the individual should shine his or her own light inside of those principles.  Every human being shouldn't be required to hold the same things at priority that another one would.  Though, what may be a nice requirement to place on ourselves, is evaluation.  Evaluation can be like getting gas.  Those that are active and have a good amount of things going on will have to evaluate what is important more often. Those that have less going on and keep a small circle won't have to visit the pump as often.  

I run into a lot of people that tell me something, someone, or some place is important and holds priority because of an event that took place in the past.  Feel me accurately on this... the past is important because it sets the tone for the present as well as the future.  It would be difficult for a past-less noun (person, place, or thing) to top the list of importance because having no past generally means that you don't really know that noun.  However, even with the necessity of a past in the ranking of importance, where do we place that idea of the present.  Where should we place that idea of the present.

We develop as we age.  We grow larger as we age up and then half way we begin to grow smaller.  Our brain can process more information as we grow older and then it begins to process less information.  Some things that were important at age eight will not be important at age fourteen.  On the contrary, some things from age eight will stick through to age fourteen and potentially see themselves through to age 100.  This concept can be related to any facet that you chose.  Today I will touch on a job, a friend, and a family member... just for today I won't touch on the donuts.

My job happens to be my sport.  During the year I play sports to make my living.  At first glance it is easy for people to be upon one side of the two extremes.  The side of being immediately envious because they imagine that there is nothing better than playing sports while traveling the world; there can be some fact or fiction to that depending who you are.  Secondly, the side of having no envy and no desire to be overseas and away from America for an extended period of time.  Either way, my job has decisions and evaluations like anyone else's.  The average worker must hit that mental gas station to decide if they enjoy their environment, their current level of pay, their freedom, and if this job is a necessity to feed their family.  Remember that when I say family I am not simply referring to the people who's blood is in our veins.  I am making reference to the people that we make the decision to be responsible for.  Shoutout to Young Angel.  When we hit those evaluations, every time we have the opportunity to change what we are doing.  If I decide that it is time for me to step away from playing volleyball professionally, trust that something that volleyball did for me in the past will not be my deciding factor to hang on.  Regardless of time put in, longevity, accolades, paychecks, any of the attributes from the past... what must be of the most importance is what is happening right now.  

For volleyball to remain as my job and for it to be the thing that I go back to every year, every month, every day, it has to provide the same things that it has from the time that I declared it as my job.  For me that consists of things like a reasonably consistent desire to attend work, potential for growth in knowledge and skill, as well as some sort of financial security.  If what my job was did not provide me those things, you wouldn't even have to ask why I stepped away.  I wouldn't hang on to something in the present, solely because of the past, that would setup an undesired future.   

As I am writing this, I have a best friend.  He knows who he is and anyone that knows me knows who he is.  That's because I represent.  The day that I moved to Long Beach my freshman year of college, I went to my apartment and my roommates weren't there.  I took a walk over to the gym at the school I would be attending and heard a ball bouncing inside of the gym.  Standing there alone was a pretty tall, young looking kid.  His name was Kris, my name was similar.  That was day one and he's been my day one ever since.  He's consistently on my right hand because of the evaluation I am talking about.  I know that if I call, I will get a call back.  If I am stuck on the freeway, he will come get me or call people until he finds someone that can come get me.  He knows not to use the word need unless it is something that he truly needs.  He's got my back to the furthest meaning of the phrase.  

I said that "I know" that if....  I didn't use that word "know" because of some magical belief that things will be that way; it's used because it's proven.  Every year, every month, every day, it's proven.  That same concept I talked about with my job applies here.  If the time ever came that those qualities consistently didn't show through, then one wouldn't have to ask why he isn't my right hand.  The actions of the past would not make me hang on, its got to be coupled with the actions of the present.  I watched a Kevin Hart comedy last night titled, "The Wedding Ringer".  It had a line toward the end that caught my attention and I think I agree.  "A friend isn't someone that you feel good about, it's someone that makes you feel good about yourself."  That goes out to all my people out there, small circle.

Family is important.  Often times family is the most important.  In our society, who do we most often see things dropped for?  Family.  Who do we share things with in times of happiness and sadness?  Family.  I think that very few differ in those practices.  Where I think we differ in society is in this question; What is family?  To several, family is the people that share your blood line.  To many, it is only the people that share your last name.  To some, it is the people that are "there" whenever we exclaim that we "need" them.  To few, it is the people that will do whatever we say.

To me, family is a combination.  My blood relatives are my family if they support my goals, voice their concerns, and respect my wishes when the dust settles.  My in-laws become my family if they can uphold those same things.  My significant other is my family if she can uphold those same things, hopefully better than anyone else.  My tree of friends are my family as long as they can uphold those same things.  My son or daughter is my family because I feel responsible for him or her.  And I would go to war for any of them.  Never just because though.  My family must understand the difference between want versus need and apply that when asking me to battle for them.

My parent doesn't pull rank over my significant other just because they are my parent and my friend doesn't pull rank over my child just because they have been around longer.  My personal wishes must be the catalyst and my family knows their criteria.  Support my goals, voice your concerns, I will evaluate, and after that process, respect my choice of direction on that matter.  A parent's job is to support their kids, during this process they should teach their kids how to support themselves, when they are ready to support themselves parents ought to allow them to choose their path and use the criteria: support the goals, voice the concerns, allow for evaluation, then respect the choice.  A friend's job to to verbally support and use the criteria.  A child's job is to allow their parents to teach them how to support themselves, then to support themselves when they are ready to.  If a child is not being taught how to support his or her self then as soon as he or she becomes cognizant of it then he or she has to fight to gain the tools to become independent.  Everyone has a role and it is alright to get off track.  Family knows to regain the track and to support each other's wishes.  If they don't, then teach them. 

What is important is that we've got to have a past.  Without it, we don't have sync.  However, what is more important is the present.  Everything that you've always upheld and stood for.  You must continue to evaluate what you believe in and care about, then continue to uphold and stand for whatever that may be.  Enjoy & drop your questions, comments, or concerns below.

- Lion

Chris P Austin