In the early 90s I quit my comfortable job with the intent of forcing myself to find something more challenging and rewarding. It worked, but for a year or so things were pretty darned rough. One day, I was in a job counseling group and the theme was something like, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket; work isn't everything." The idea was that if we have some balance in our lives – varied interests - we'll be more productive at work, able to handle job stress better, and will be better prepared to handle the loss of a job.
The group leader handed out papers with a tic-tac-toe on them, like a big pound sign.
We were asked write in the nine dominant aspects of our lives. It would be a mix of things that we care most about and activities that took up a large chunk of our time. For starters it didn't matter how each stacked up, but we did need to introduce the idea that there are other things in life beyond "box A-1."
After we filled them in, we were asked to look at each one and ask ourselves which ought to have a bigger or lesser role in our lives.
Is one of them a dream you haven't pursued?
Is one of them taking way too much of your time?
Which ones seem perfectly appropriate just like they are?
If you jettison one of the nine, what could take its place?
This is a whole lot like another one of my Gather top-10-list posts, but it occurs to me I'm not ready to broadcast what my nine are. Think about it. If you don't have to show it to anyone else, would a few nasty habits make the list? What if one of them is "beating myself up," or "Sacrament of the Ganja (mon)" or you have a hobby called "criticizing all I see"? I'm not saying any of those made my list, but you get the point, yes?
So, if you want to show your nine, that's fine, but what do you think about this process? Let's say you even give it a try. What ideas and feelings does it conjure up?
I hadn't thought about the "nine things" for years, and I haven't done the exercise since that day. I wonder what I'll come up with.