Seven hours and forty-five minutes ago, I sat in my living room writing this very post. There were plenty of things that needed to be done in that moment, which, even now, are probably still waiting for my attention. Instead of cleaning my apartment, vacuuming, doing the dishes or getting some much-needed sleep before the start of the work week, I decided to write.
I’m starting to wonder if most active bloggers have flawed priorities. Why should this activity come before any of those. Yet, if I’m hanging out with friends or family knowing I don’t have a blog prepared for the next day, I will step away for an hour to make sure I don’t disappoint my readers.
That’s not really true, though. As much as I cherish all my readers, I write for myself. These thoughts churn around in my mind and I just can’t stay sane without throwing them out into the world. This is my medicine, my meditation.
It has me thinking about how we go about prioritizing the important things in life. For most, people – like friends and family – come first, followed by their career. After that, some hobbies may be peppered in along with housekeeping and health. Is that really the correct way to go about life?
I’m not here to tell people what will and won’t make them happy, but I will say that one’s priorities should be based on optimum happiness and life satisfaction. The reason people tend to come first is because friends and family provide the greatest purpose. Along with socialization and support, friends and family often make us feel needed. When they have a question they can’t answer or need a shoulder to lean on, they know they can come to you. That action gives a person’s life meaning.
I’ve been told that doctors say the will to live can be one of the biggest deciding factors in whether certain patients live or die. Sometimes, the difference between fading away in a nursing home and successfully vanquishing a sever illness is that will. Those are the moments when friends and family are the most crucial. If a person reaches a point where they are unable to work or participate in their favorite hobbies, the people around them make them feel like life is still worth living.
These days, I feel like too many people order their priorities based on something other than this meaning. Their list is based off of what society tells them will make them happy or off of immediate gratification. In the long run, I don’ think either provides true meaning and happiness.
From what I can tell, society seems to think possessing more money and more things leads to happiness. The problem is, that theory often treats people like objects. A person gains friends and lovers because of the money they have. In reality, those relationships tend to be rather shallow. They remind me of some of the popular girls in my high school whose parents bought them everything under the sun. Many if not most of their friends weren’t there for them; they were there for their money. There’s no way a life like that really has meaning.
Immediate gratification isn’t a sure way to happiness either. Often, such a philosophy can lead to frequent parties, drinking, drugs, short-lived romantic encounters and irresponsible spending. There’s no room for longevity if your focus is to do whatever makes you the happiest in any given moment. Long-term relationships, for example, are not without their struggles. Couples almost always have some disagreements and may even go to bed angry some nights. Making it through those hard times builds a stronger bond and the potential for a happier future. Giving up, on the other hand, which may make a person feel happier in the moment, removes any potential for a stronger bond or happier future with that person.
People should sit and think about what really brings meaning to their life early on. While it’s never too late, I imagine it could be quite disappointing to realize the things that truly bring meaning late in life.
The people in my life will always come first, but I think writing will always be second. When I look for jobs and imagine my future career, I’m not thinking about what my salary will be or how much I’ll have when I retire. I’m thinking about the different ways I can combine my writing with other skills to make my life fun and exciting 40 hours a week. Maybe creating a brochure on Publisher or InDesign isn’t everyone’s idea of a thrill, but I love the creativity involved.
Third place on my list would be nutrition, but not fitness. I know, fitness should be up there, but between dishes, vacuuming and video games, I have a lot of excuses. ^_^ I guess I haven’t figured out where to place everything yet, but the fact remains that writing is near the top of my priority list. It may not make me money and with all the work that goes into a post, it takes some time before I can feel the gratification of completion, but it’s one of those things that fills my life with purpose.
What’s at the top of your priority list? What do you base your list on? What on your list fills your life with purpose?