How does a person determine the “important” things in life. Then, how does that person prioritize the important things? How do we achieve a balanced life.

I’m fairly certain that most people have heard or seen a presentation of “Life in a Jar.” There are several versions, this is mine.

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A person is presented with a jar. It is determined to be “empty”. Golf balls are added to the empty jar. These balls represent the necessary parts of our lives ~ God, Family, House, Food, Job, Car… etc. A question is posed. Is the jar full? The common response, Yes. It is full of golf balls. The demonstrator then adds sand to the jar. The sand fills all the visible space within the jar. Representing the second tier of what we determine to be important to us, mostly recreational things. The things that take up our spare time… etc. The question is posed once again, Is the jar full? Again, the common response, Yes. The demonstrator then takes a glass of water. Pouring it into the jar with the golf balls and the sand. Effectively filling the jar by filling in the space between the sand and golf balls. Cementing an image of a full and complete life. The demonstrator, then proposes the idea that even though we feel our lives are full, with just the balls and the sand. There is always room for our soul. That, we quite often forget ourselves, when listing all the things that take up space in our lives.

Within the “first tier” of the importance ladder, I think I’m doing well within the parameters of expectation. I have a personal relationship with God. I have an amazing family, both immediate and extended. A comfortable home. “Life” is pretty darn good. It’s the second and third tiers that have me walking the tight rope.

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So what are my second tier items? My “recreational” things. The items in my life that bring me joy. The short list (in no particular order): Honestly Carrie, Crochet/knitting, Recipes- 2 projects: A hand written recipe book for my daughter. A recipe book that chronicles multiple recipe boxes that belonged to my mother. Topping off the list is Camp Carrie, my in home child care business. Which could be accounted for in my first tier, but I like doing it, so second tier it is. I enjoy all of these things. However, I’m having trouble bringing any of them to fruition.

I asked my husband how he would go about completing multiple projects. His suggestion was to do the least enjoyable item first. As well as, concentrating on one project at a time. Doing each project to the best of your ability. He is a pretty level headed guy.

I’ve decided to take his advice. One at a time. Now, how to “rank” them? I don’t have any that would take the prize for “least liked”. As I look at this list, there are a few pastimes that could earn income. Camp Carrie, Honestly, Carrie, and crochet/knitting (maybe on Etsy). These projects, logically, should take precedence. Camp Carrie, let’s be real. I get to play with and watch these little people learn and grow. Not to mention the perk of a steady source of income. Honestly, Carrie and crochet/knitting both hold a hopeful possibility of generating income. That leaves the two recipe projects. I have to ask myself if one is more important than the other. I started the handwritten book first. It is only right that it receives my attention first.

Tier three. My Soul. This is the easiest to ignore. To push aside and not make time for. I am learning beginners yoga and meditation. I pray and spend time listening for God. Every now and then, I go on a mini shopping spree. As I try to describe the things I do to enrich my soul, I find that the projects from tier two and the “necessary” items of tier one, all help to keep my jar full.

I feel it is important to have the mixture of all the things contained within the three tiers. To successfully balance them is a tricky undertaking. By finding that balance, we can live full and complete lives.




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