Wise people always say that life is about making and managing priorities. By wise people, I'm simply referring to those who feel the overwhelming need to intervene in your life with uninvited advice. No one ever ardently seeks these people out to ask for the key to happiness. Or success. Deep down we all know the right things to do and say in order to get what we want, it just comes down to the will and desire to do so. Prioritizing. Managers and corporate big wigs in silk ties love that term. It means giving your tasks a certain order in which to be completed, according to importance. Which is fine, as long as your punched into the time clock, swiveling around the office in your ergonomic desk chair. Working billable hours. Collecting your wages or pooling your tips.
But when people tell me I need to set priorities in my life, I feel the equivalent of being leashed in the backyard like a German Shepard. You keep running and the chain keeps yanking you back, dictating where you can and cannot go. Or as if I'm wearing one of those shock collars that shoot you with electricity whenever you pass the boundaries. Priorities are completely subjective, and as far as I'm concerned, they have been since the beginning of time.
Some people want to be homemakers. Professors. Professional athletes. Mothers. Lawyers. Lovers. Interior decorators. Some people want to lay on the white sand of a tropical island and sip Mai Tai's until their livers corrode.
It's a lot like those bible pushers that tell you to pray. Tell you that Jesus loves you and hand you pocket-sized pamphlets. Ask you if you have accepted the Lord as your savior. They talk about salvation.
I don't need to be saved.
And yet we all need to be saved.
We need to be saved from all of this white noise, speculation and societal guidelines that tell us that we should buy houses instead of backpacking through Europe. Start familes instead of seeing the world. Wear a pantsuit instead of a pair of jeans. Maybe my aspirations contradict the notion of becoming a millionaire, or becoming famous, or popping out 2.5 children and spiralling down the drain of suburbian mediocrity.
Maybe my priorities are different. Maybe I have it all wrong. But nonetheless, they are mine to choose.
One hundred years from now no one will care if you were the CEO of some long ago renamed company, or if some university named a wing after you. You're just an engraved name on a placard. No one really cares about George Washington. The green-tinted face on the crumpled bill you pull from a pocket. He's a dead president. When the lights go out, it really will not matter if I never smoked a cigarette or had a one-night stand. Took chances. Made transient memories.
I don't need a legacy. My priority is to be happy, to make others happy while I have the opportunity.
When you make another person one of your priorities, your life changes. Certain other aspects come screeching to a halt. I understand the point of view of people with career paths and big dreams. You lose focus. But maybe your priority is love. Friendship. Finding genuine people.
I'll never fault anyone for persuing their dreams or making their own reality, whatever that may be. But I can't be faulted for doing the same.