Spinning Plates: Figuring Out Priorities

by Heidi Obermeyer


Modern life is extremely interesting. For example, right now I am sitting in a building 8,000 miles away from where I was born, something that would be very unlikely if I were me 200 years ago. 200 years ago, I probably would have basically been Laura Ingalls Wilder, just a random pioneer woman fighting off horse thieves and daring to not wear my bonnet on sunny days. There could also be locus swarms that caused widespread financial ruin, but we would somehow survive them because of smart saving and selling off our best horses. Oh, and I would bake cornbread all the time!

But alas. This is 2013, and there are no bonnets to be seen, so I have to stick with what I know, which sadly does not include covered wagons or cooking over open fire on a regular basis.


I would like to make an observation: There are only so many hours in a day, and a person can only be in one place at a time. I was making an omelet this morning and was quite suddenly struck by the fact that I have only seen an actual chicken once since I started college. I like chickens! And farms! And animals of all sorts! But here I sit, in an urban environment where there are no chickens to be found and that isn’t too conducive to having a pet around. But I only have so much time, and can only be in one place at once, and other priorities have slipped in, and before you know it I haven’t even seen a chicken in years, which is ridiculous because I always had chickens when I was a kid.

So as I prioritize in my day-to-day life, some things I used to love (and still do, in most cases) have slipped away from me. Which is sad, even though the things that replaced them are still wonderful in many ways too. It’s as though there’s a thousand plates I could be spinning, but I only have two hands. Things I would like to do more of: horseback riding, scuba diving, hiking, national park exploring, camping, playing tennis, reading books, riding bikes, making money, being near the mountains, skiing, being near the ocean, learning how to run a business from the plethora of capable people in my family, being around my family, baking, ice skating, and painting. And a million other things! Right now I can only spin a few [life] plates at a time, and for the last few weeks they have been eating, sleeping, and diplomacy. And coffee. Lots of good coffee.

There’s just too many interests! As my Berlin time slides by (I have already been here for 2 months- 30% of my stay here, gone!) and I consider what my “next step” and “life plan” and “adult-style goals” or whatever will be, I’m looking at this list of things I like and wondering- am I getting enough of what I love? And if not, how do I get more of it? And where will be most conducive to doing that? I would like to figure this out in the coming months. Big questions, but in a positive way. Let’s do this.