“The following areas are under immediate threat of wildfires. Please be prepared to evacuate your home in one hour if needed,” the text said. After weeks of numbness set in from a stream of despair ridden headlines, I felt this wave of panic like nothing I’ve experienced before.
Stop everything. What’s most important? Decide. You have 1 hour.
I won’t drag on the suspense. My home was not evacuated. I’m thankful for all the hard work of our firefighters here in Colorado. But the question - what’s most important? That feeling won’t leave me for a long time.
We make plenty of choices every day - what to eat, what to wear, which calls we join, etc. We make them casually or under a lot of stress, depending on how much of your life you think you can control.
But to assess everything and trim it down to only what’s most important under the time constraint of destruction? That’s different. Whether the moment was a natural disaster or human-made, it changes how you think.
It’s fascinating to realize just how many things that seem important day to day become meaningless under these terms and restrictions. You can’t take more than you can fit in the car. You have 1 hour. What’s most important?
After making room for the people’s necessities (and dogs, duh), I only grabbed a handful of things:
A childhood photo album.
A plastic bag of pictures I was given after my Grandmother’s funeral.
My family’s bible from childhood.
Every journal I’ve written in since I was 16.
A box of love letters.
I probably shouldn’t tell anyone about the journals. Those would be worse than any digital blackmail. I’m so thankful I grew up pre-Internet.
Looking at these items, I know what’s most important. What’s most important to me is cherishing the people and moments that loved me into being.
The act of acknowledging where I came from, where I am, and what I want to become.
While my childhood wasn’t some fairytale, I was lucky to have had incredible people nurture and invest their time in helping me become who I am. They were the ones who saved me when I couldn’t always save myself.
Their stories don’t live on Facebook albums or Snapchat memories. They’re in those journals and scribbled into the margins of the bible. They race through my mind and heart as I present to people inside buildings I never thought I would see.
Even more significant than that, I realized they are a recognizable part of who I am. While I love each item, I could leave it behind because those people are part of my pages. I’ll never be without them whether I have my box of stuff or not.
So this week, if you’re looking to be extra introspective, try this. Make a list of 3 to 5 things you’d grab if you got the text that you needed to leave in one hour. Then, consider what they represent. What they tell you about yourself. What’s most important? Feel free to hit respond and share. I’ll listen.
Asking important questions seems to be a theme around here this week. While I’ve had those questions on my mind, I also shared my favorite hiring manager intake questions on the blog.
It turns out that powerful questions change everything, but especially your job postings. Even better, they can improve your quality of hire so make sure and get my free template from that post.
A few more posts that will make you think are down there, too.
Wear a mask and vote. You can help keep what’s most important to you safe - the people who loved you into being.