Putting Loved Ones First

Mother and daughter eating dinner

I’m very close to my family and my group of friends. It has always been this way. When I was younger it was quite easy to give both sets of people the attention they deserved. Although, I have to admit that during my pre-teen and teenage years my I fought tooth and nail to give my friends more attention than my family, because, well…I was a teenage girl.

These days with significant others, children, demanding jobs, schooling, meetings, random obligations, etc. its hard to give yourself the attention you deserve, let alone anyone else. However, it is so imperative to carve out time to catch up with your girlfriends, laugh with your spouse, and play with your children. This is what life is all about!

After spending an absolutely amazing weekend with family and friends in Vermont (I got married there on September 15th!) I found this to be the perfect topic to write about this week. Having SO many people that mean SO much to me, in one room, at the same time was mind-blowing. It really got me thinking – without these people that mean the world to me, what would be the point? Life is about sharing it with those you love. Not just your spouse, but your friends and family also. They make the good things even better, and help the bad things seem manageable. The people we love are the entrees of life, and everything else is just the side dish.

We need to cherish these people, so let’s stop making excuses and start making time for them!

Here are five simple suggestions to accomplish this:

1. Exercise together. Exercising isn’t always fun (obviously). What makes it more enjoyable is synching up schedules with a friend in order to get it done. This summer my sister Meg and I got to walk with one another quite a bit – we’d make time to fit in a three mile walk, strap my nephew into his stroller, and chat along the way. It was a great way to get our cardio in, motivate each another, and catch up!

2. Watch your favorite show with someone else. Last year my husband (whoa – the word ‘husband’ is going to take some getting used to!) and I became obsessed with the TV show How I Met Your Mother. We watched every single episode night after night (seasons one through six) until we finally caught up with season seven, which was currently airing at the time. We both fell in love with the show (it’s hilarious!) and now get excited about cuddling up on the couch for our HIMYM date every Monday night. It’s a scheduled date night neither one of us want to miss!

3. Run errands together. Post office for stamps. Target for thank you notes. Supermarket for groceries. Bank to deposit checks. These are not the most exciting activities in your life, but they need to get done. Ask a friend to tag along! That way you can have some entertainment along each not-so-entertaining stop. And let’s be real – she probably needs something at Target anyway. Who doesn’t?

4. Cook together. Personally, sometimes I love to cook, and sometimes I hate it. Whether I’m in the loving it or hating it kind of mood – it’s always better when it’s a team effort, so oftentimes my husband (there’s that word again!) and I make dinner together. We can talk about the events of our days and connect with one another as we chop, stir, and sauté. Incorporating your children (if you have any) is also a great idea. Think about it, you can also go over the events of their day, all the while teaching them something new, making them feel important, and accomplishing a task.

5. Re-prioritize. Ok, this one isn’t ‘simple’, but I gave you four simple suggestions, and now one challenging one. (Fair enough, right?) Think about where you waste time in your schedule during the week, or where your valuable time could be distributed elsewhere. Now think about all the people you’d love to see more, or spend more quality time with. After you’ve come up with both of these answers, you need to think about rearranging your priorities. Think about maximizing the time you spend with your loved ones, and weeding out unimportant distractions.

Are there any kinds of mundane things that you do with your friends that are made better by the fact that you do them together?

—Colleen Mescall