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 beer.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he 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 next picked up a box of small 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 again agreed it was full. 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 cans of beer 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 truly important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions—things that 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, your car."
"The sand is everything else—the small stuff."
"If you put in the sand into the jar first", he continued, "there will be 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 partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house or fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, and the things that truly matter. Set your priorities."
"The rest is just sand."
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.
The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life might seem, there is always room for a couple of beers."
I wish and hope that you too are taking care of the big things first—and getting a couple of beers!