“You’ve got to have priorities.”

“Get your priorities in order.”

That’s something everyone has heard (or maybe even said) before, right?

Well, have I learned a mighty valuable lesson about priorities.

Until recent, I was operating my life something like below:

  1. School (if possible)
  2. Work
  3. Libations
  4. Friends
  5. Family
  6. Home (Got rather good at couch surfing, I am ashamed to admit.)

Well, schooling, working, and therapy in the form of booze landed me in the loony bin. I wish I was kidding, but I am so very not. After a suicidal bender, I turned myself if. They diagnosed me as bipolar, and for the first time in my life, I am on “meds” for something that isn’t just going to clear up.

On the upside of the whole ordeal, I am starting to see my life more clearly. While school is still important to me, I see that some of my crazy comes from instabilities in my home and family life. The rowdy bunch of workmates that I have been using as a family crutch are a poor excuse for such, and now I can see that these people all have families of their own to lean on, I was the only one who did not. Right before I hospitalized myself, I received a call from my younger sister. She wanted to know if she could come and stay with me.

This is great. My sister and I get along like peas and carrots. I started to make arrangements for her to come and stay with me; for us to share a studio apartment. Some how my (somewhat estranged) mom catches wind of this plan and decides to ask if she can come and stay with me too.

Well, to be honest, I think my kid sister said something to her about it. Her and mom have a couple of little dogs, and I told her that we have to let mom keep the dogs… so to be I would gamble that she was just a *tiny* bit motivated by that… but I also know that she cares about our mom and was hesitant to leave her living four states away, with no family around to speak of… which is why I said let’s let mom keep the dogs… but at any rate…

At first I tell her no, like the cold, hardened, beaten up daughter that has learned this lesson one too many times already. And then something in my heart warmed a little. “It’s you’re mother for Pete’s sake,” the voice said,”what’s wrong with you? Are you heartless!?”

The little voice was pestering. And then there is the fact that several of my friends have lost their mom recently, so in comes another little voice,

“What if she dies!?”

Tick, tick, tick.

Long story short, a couple of weeks later, I’m on a Greyhound bus due south, on the way to retrieve my mother, whom I haven’t laid eyes on for over two years. I get there, we pack up, we go.

We arrive back up north, and I’ve gone out of my way to accommodate her. I know she gets… “unnerved” easily, so I rent a room at the cleanest, cheapest, extended stay that I can find. That said, it’s expensive by my standards, and I’m strapped and stressed. However, it’s nestled among lots of factories and businesses that are “now hiring” so I feel I have made a good choice. The plan was for her to start working and pitching in with short order. A couple of days in, things are going well, and she seems like she is feeling neglected. She mentions this margarita place across the way. I take us out for margaritas and dinner. Now, my mother and I are both alcoholics. This was a bad idea in hindsight. But in my defense, I really did not understand the extent of the problem.

We have a rollicking night and sleep it off the next day. The day after, I go to class, and I meet with my sweetheart after class. I let mom know I don’t plan on coming home, and I tell her that my boyfriend wants to have lunch with her the next day, as they have really not officially met. She seems fine.

The next day I ask her if she is still up for lunch, and she is not. I decide to go home and check on her before going to work. The scene was not good. I told her, please, get it together and dry out.

I come home from work, and the scene went from not good to scary. I sent her to the hospital. She dries out there, comes home, and suddenly I am the bad guy. Long story short, we get into a fight, and two days later, she leaves while I at work, because she would rather go back down south than into a recovery program.

One thing I have to say, for sure, is thank goodness for my therapist, because he has assured me that I am one, not crazy for wanting to help her, and two, not to blame for the outcome of the situation. I took her departure hard, I spiraled into a deep, nasty depression, but I’m okay now. I have learned much over these past few months, and I really can’t afford to be too upset over the whole thing.

So, here are my priorities, revised:

  1. Home (Guess what? If you don’t have a place to hang your hat, you aren’t going to get shit done. You need a base of operations.)
  2. Family (Everyone needs someone to lean on, and also, you must be choosy as to which family you share your home with.)
  3. Work (Paying bills, very important.)
  4. Friends (Social lives keep us happy and sane.)
  5. School (Surprise! It’s hard to take classes unless the rest of your life is in order.)
  6. Libations (Not really a priority, but I like to acknowledge the shift on my list.)

So, onto finding myself a home.