You may know right off the top of your head. Maybe it takes some thought.
I’ve got a lot of priorities jostling for my attention. And there’s some priorities I’m trying to de-prioritize. There’s only so much me to go around, right?
Everywhere you look, you can find people trying to help other people create a life plan, or be more productive. I think that’s shorthand for “getting your priorities straight.”
I think I’ve always had good priorities…or I thought I did at the time. But looking back, it’s kind of funny to see just what my highest priorities were, what I spent the most time and energy trying to accomplish.
When I Was Ten Years Old…
My priorities included Saturday morning cartoons,
and getting a turn on the video games before my brother,
and making sure his feet didn’t cross the invisible barrier in the backseat,
and going to the creek to find crawdads and play with firecrackers,
and drawing flaming mutant robot ninjas with machine guns in their eyes and mouths.
When I Was Twenty Years Old…
My priorities were completely different. They included…
Sleeping as late as possible, going to class, and then sleeping some more,
and working two summer jobs to make enough money to sustain my fast food budget through the school year,
and working just hard enough to get good grades and no more,
and exploring the boundaries of new-found freedom,
and finding a girlfriend that didn’t drive me crazy.
Now That Twenty is a Long Time Ago…
My priorities are completely different. I can’t believe how I spent so much of my time back then.
Today, my priorities include making my grass look as good as possible,
and getting my boss to notice how amazing I am,
and taking on a secret writing project,
and throwing parties for increasingly busy friends-turned-parents,
and keeping up with social media,
and figuring out the precisely correct width of the neckties I should buy for my body type.
When I’m Forty Years Old…
I haven’t watched Saturday morning cartoons in twenty years. I haven’t chased girls in ten years. The things which occupied my time and attention now seem so trite and meaningless. I would find my old priorities to be completely boring, even stupid. No, now I’ve got my priorities straight. Now I’m pursuing meaningful goals.
But it does make me wonder just what I’ll think of today’s priorities ten years from now. Are my priorities going to look like those dreadfully awkward photos of me at age thirteen? What is going to be the focus of my life that replaces my top priorities today?
Fun time-wasting game for Monday: name one priority you had from each decade of your life.