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Guest opinion: Priorities — Check, one, two


By Blair Ryan | Co-founder, Standard Manner

“Nothing in this life is ever guaranteed” is something we have all heard and would like to think doesn’t apply to us. No matter how firm, confident or healthy you might think you are, everything you know can change in a moment, and much of this is out of our control. 

The plus side is that we get to decide, we have an active choice in how we will handle the oddities, anxieties and troubles of this world. 

Working for EveryStep, a health care nonprofit that dedicates all of their energy to helping people in vulnerable situations, has encouraged me to ask myself deeper questions about what is really important to me in this fleeting world. I watch our care team helping children work through their grief after a parent has died. I see dedicated nurses and volunteers caring for a patient in hospice and at the same time, supporting their spouse who can’t bear to leave their loved one’s side because they have been married for over 60 years. I witness young mothers learning how to raise healthy babies and children when months prior, they didn’t even know where to begin. 

All of this work and all of my personal experiences have encouraged me to reevaluate what I believe is truly important and how I will choose to handle unexpected, uncomfortable, imperfect times.

Every day I ask myself what my goal is in this world, and the answer is simple: I want to be a light — for my faith, for myself, for my family and for anyone who knows me. Once I started placing importance on the things that truly matter, all else began to fall into place and the material motivations of the world started to fade away. Troubles can be overcome, or they can’t, but my attitude won’t waiver.

A priority check isn’t easy, but it is filled with reward. If you are overwhelmed, wanting a change, troubled by health or stress, I encourage you to ask, “What really matters to me? I get one shot at this.”

Blair Ryan is donor relations manager for HCI Care Services & Visiting Nurses Services of Iowa and co-founder of the Standard Manner Etiquette and Communications Consulting. As a proud Des Moines native, she knows this city will always be her home and is committed to making it an even brighter place to live. Ryan can be reached at blair.estelle.ryan@gmail.com.

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