What’s Important

What’s important to you?

This question came to my mind right after I felt a sharp prick of anxiety nip into my mind early this morning. I thought about the question instead of letting anxiety invade my mind and turn on the power to maximum.

I’d rather ask myself this question than let my mind run at a hundred miles an hour and not be able to focus on anything like writing. So if you want to know what my answers are to that question, here they are:

1) Not burning up my energy on just letting my mind run wild and not be able to focus on anything. I know things are tight with me like they are with everyone else. But despite the bullshit-lies anxiety loves to tell me, no one is out there waiting for me to stop this hamster-wheel run so they can stomp on me. If there is someone in this world who thinks I should just run on a hamster-wheel like I’m on an endless supply of speed, to hell with them.

2) Writing every single day or close to it is important to me, extremely important in fact because that’s how I’m going to rise up like Alexander Hamilton did (I’ve got the song ‘My Shot’ now going through my head- which is a good thing).

3) Taking at least one hour a day to read. In the last few years, I’ve gotten away from reading and I’m hell-bent and determined to get back to it. It’s a learned behavior now that I have to establish this as a daily habit.

I will say letting my mind run itself out on the hamster-wheel inside my head did bring me a moment of clarity yesterday. A moment of clarity is a precious gift to me and one I hadn’t gotten in a while. It’s not a huge burst of light but just something coming into perfect focus. It can be a thought, an idea, or a direction to go in.

For me, asking the question of what’s important feels like I’m standing up for myself. I don’t feel like I’m being nailed to the floor with it like I have in the past, nailed hard enough to where I could only look down at the floor and mumble. No, when I hear that question I take a deep breath and look up straight ahead. And I tell myself fretting over tight finances, weather, and the health of my sinuses isn’t going to accomplish anything.

A little over four years ago, I set out on a quest to use writing to try and figure out why I thought and felt the way I did. It’s been a much-more complex quest than I could have ever imagined but I’m glad I set out on that path. And I think where some of my anxiety is coming from is that I’m at the point where I’m truly ready to write down what I’ve learned over the last four years, especially on today’s date, January 20, 2021.

Today is the inauguration of Joseph Biden as the forty-six President of the United States and Kamala Harris as Vice-President. These are two people who have asked themselves and the rest of us what’s important to each of us. It’s because of their own answers to that question that they will be sworn in today to begin rebuilding this country and beginning the healing process. Both know grief and loss very well, and both are determined and focused on what needs to be done.

If you answer the question of what’s important to you with a lot of hyperbole and blame, those aren’t answers. True answers to the question of what’s important to you might not be so easy to find, and they may go against what other people think and feel. But true answers to this question are about the real truth, not loud and hateful words, not a disregard for facts and experiences. And most of all, true answers to the question of what’s important aren’t devoid of compassion and empathy or scorn for those things. Excuses and denials of acts and expressions of compassion and empathy are not valid answers to what’s important in this world.

The question of what’s important is not an easy one to ask, or answer because it involves peeling back layers of silence in order to answer it. That’s how it has worked for me, and it is hard to do that, hard to face the grief and pain under the silence. But in the end, the real truthful answers will come along with clarity.

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