Not too long ago, my good friend Stone told me a story. Today I'd like to share it with you because I know at least personally when it comes the the beginning of a new school year I always seem to blow things out of perspective. And if that's how you feel too, and even if you don't, this story might just help:

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.He then asked the students if the jar was full.They agreed that it was.The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.He then asked the students again if the jar was full.They agreed that it was.The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.Of course, the sand filled up everything else.He asked once more if the jar was full.The students responded with a unanimous "yes."The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed."Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.The golf balls are the important things - your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions - and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.The sand is everything else - the small stuff.""If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls."The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you."Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."
     One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.The professor smiled.
     "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

      Now, I want to ask you. As you were reading this, were there things that came to mind when you learned about the golf balls? What about the pebbles? The sand? And finally, the people you would share the coffee with?
      When Stone told me this story, things instantly came to mind when he told me of the golf balls. To me, the friendships I've made in Cambridge, my family, my friends at home, my health, my happiness and the happiness of those around me were all golf balls. And then when it came to pebbles I thought about school, my home, the internet that keeps me connected to those who live far away, etc. But I also realized that some of my pebbles were once thought to be golf balls in my life, when they really shouldn't have. Some things that seem important to us at one point in our lives may not be as important in the future. And sometimes we just blow things wildly out of proportion due to the stress level we are at and the given circumstance. 
      So I challenge you to this: Today tell that one person that you love them; connect with an old friend you've been meaning to talk to but never got around to it; call up your parents and thank them for everything they did; go out and do something that makes you happy; and finally, share a cup of coffee with a dear friend and just relax. Enjoy what you have, and don't dwell on what you don't. So always remember the mayonnaise jar, and the fact that with just the golf balls, your life is still full. And if you take care of the "small stuff" so be it, but make sure you set your priories and that the golf balls always come first. But no matter how full it is, there's still room for a couple cups of coffee with a friend.
     Have a great day, and stay beautiful. With love, Natalie :)

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