Priority Number One!

April 30, 2012

What is your highest priority today?

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.

22 responses to Priority Number One!

  1. 10-Years old–Become a Boy Scout
    20-Serve God
    30 Divorce my fist wife; become a writer.
    40 Survive while raising six kids on a freelance writer’s income
    50 Survive losing one teen to drugs
    60 Become a decent writer
    And now in my 70s and circling the drain, I’d like to die with as little pain and mess and bother as possible.


  2. <10 – become an astronaut
    10<x<20 – become an astronaut
    20<x<30 – become an astronaut
    30<x<40 – become an astronaut

    Not necessarily my only priority, and certainly not always my _top_ priority, but always a priority in my life.

    (is that cheating?)

    • Ha! Never stop dreaming, I guess!

      • (For the record, my degrees are in aerospace engineering and I’m currently waiting through the selection process for my 2nd application to be an astronaut. Technically, I am “qualified,” but over 6000 people applied for 10-15 spots this time, so being “qualified” only counts so far. But I really wasn’t joking when I said this was a priority for me for pretty much all of my life. At this point in my life though, achieving this dream would be the decorations on a cake that is already very nicely iced.)

  3. 10-Be a figure skater or play piano or be a trucker like BJ and the Bear or be a detective or an environmentalist. Different day, different dream.
    20-Graduate college and get married, travel the world
    30-Be a godly woman, get married and have kids and survive a triatholon and travel the world
    40-Be a godly woman, wife and mother, don’t mess my kids up too much and survive a triathalon
    I think my goal for 50 and 60 is still to not mess my kids up too much, successfully release them fully into the Lord’s care and then spend a lot of time traveling with my husband until grandkids come along. And survive a triathalon.

  4. 10 years old- fake sick so I can stay home and play video games.

    22 years old – Survive through classes. We have class from 10:30 AM to 8:30 PM today. Ugh.

  5. > 10: art motorcycles and sadly, getting my dad to express some love.
    10-19: hockey, music, girls, avoiding pain.
    20-29: well the first few years were the worst. Getting and staying sober, rediscovering woman! Becoming a rock star.
    30-39: Being a dad, starting a new career, playing worship.
    40-49: Growing a business, burying my parents and missions.
    50-54: Fine tuning my relationships from my wife to my kids and friends, enjoying my midlife crises which includes running, hockey, motorcycling and missions.

    Before I am 60 I hope to travel more with my wife, do more missions, and be a better parent. But I am having a revelation – I just want to do everything that God asks of me.

  6. 10 – read the Little House books as many times as possible.
    20 – become a Broadway actress
    30 – be a good wife; hopefully become a mother
    40 – recover from being blindsided by divorce; accept childlessness
    now – keep my head above water since I quit my job to return to college this semester. The goal is to graduate in two years.
    50 – rock the world of some professional association, charitable organization, or corporation as their new event planner; find lasting love.

    And today? Study for marketing and insect bio finals.

  7. 0-10: stay in the pool until I look like a raisin
    11-20: go bodysurfing until I look like a raisin
    21-30: discover God’s plan for my life–choose between field biology and marriage/family
    31-40: discover God’s plan for my life as I raise kids, love husband
    41-50: discover God’s plan for my life now that kids are grown
    51-present: wing it regarding God’s plan for my life

  8. <10 Become a rock star like Jem and the Holograms

    10 and up: Avoid crying/flipping out in class.

    20ish and up: Avoid flunking med school, avoid crying/flipping out in front of patients/attendings/everybody.

    30ish and up: Avoid killing anyone and/or getting sued. Avoid crying/flipping out in front of patients/nurses/other doctors.

    40ish: Figure out what the heck it is I'm doing. Become good enough at it that I'm considered indispensible.

    Distant future (???): Retire, do enough stuff to warrent a two-column obituary when I die.

  9. at 10 – pop warner football and little league baseball – school and family after that

    at 20 – girls (young women)…just about nothing else

    at 30 – work, and kids from a failed marriage

    at 40 – new wife and church

    at 50 – spreading the good news of Christ, and trying to make get along in a broken world (of which I had a role in breaking it)

  10. When I was ten my priority was playing outside after school.
    When I was in my twenties my prioriy was getting through college, getting ladies to notice me, having fun with my friends.
    In my thirties my priorities changed, it was work, and myself, then matured and God and family began to take root.
    In my forties my priority is God and family.

  11. 10 and following–keep my dying mom alive another day
    20–getting through college and wedding
    30–settling into life in bush in Africa with husband and 3 sons
    40–getting through (and enjoying) graduate school
    50–rebuilding New Orleans (still working on that one)
    God has led, inspired, guided, and upheld. I am so grateful—-

  12. Wonderful post! Thanks!

  13. At 40 you will still care about your grass! :)

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