Nov 23, 2021

How our priorities get realigned

Sometime in Sept 2020, I had written an article titled "How to slow down?". In this article, I had mentioned my priorities in life in a particular order.

What 2021 has taught me is that such priorities can never be carved in stone. Life forces us to readjust and realign our priorities.

To give you an example, when my dad was in a critical state, I couldn't focus on my health and wellbeing for nearly 4-5 months. I was in that crisis mode and ended up feeling exhausted on all levels - physical, mental, and emotional. Yoga practice went for a toss, sleep was disturbed, stress levels were high because of the uncertainty. Simple, homecooked food and regular walks were the only habits that I managed to continue during this timeframe. Thankfully, that helped me sustain my current state of health.

From a priority point of view, those 4-5 months looked like this:

  1. Dad
  2. D and K
  3. Spiritual practice (prayers)
  4. My health and wellbeing
  5. Hobbies and interests
  6. Professional work

As things are settling down a little bit, the priorities are again getting realigned.

Another learning from this whole experience is that we end up facing the consequences of others' choices. As individuals, we might make lifestyle choices that are beneficial for our health. If others in the family don't prioritize their health or make the right choices in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, we end up bearing the brunt of it, in terms of mental, emotional, and financial stress.

As I had shared sometime back, medical expenses are extremely high - be it specialist consultations, tests, scans, inpatient stay, medicines, rehabilitation and recovery, caretaker assistance, and much more. It causes a huge dent in our financial plans. If this financial outflow has to be borne by a single member, the stress levels of that person hit the roof, resulting in an increased probability of getting into the trap of lifestyle disorders. And the cycle repeats itself for the next generation.

I read this somewhere - "People are more likely to be diagnosed with chronic lifestyle diseases (diabetes, blood pressure, obesity, etc), mostly during the times of crisis and high-stress levels". Stress is a major contributing factor, much more than food or exercise.

As we plan our future in our 20s-30s, it is best to think about these aspects and allocate a medical emergency fund, take insurance for our parents and in-laws, build financial resilience by identifying opportunities that increase our income.

Behavior change is so difficult, as we get older. I'll write a separate post on why I don't believe in this idea - "We take the right steps towards our lifestyle and others in the family will automatically follow".

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