3 Feb 2021
Maybe it’s due to having time while being confined to the house, but I’ve spent a little bit of time in the last few days wondering about priorities.
I began the time of lockdown making priorities about what I wanted to achieve during this week. Whether it was sorting out cupboards, cleaning, doing some writing, doing some weeding, going on longer walks with the dog (within my one hour exercise allotment), or simply sitting on the couch reading – I needed to set some sort of plan on my brain about what was most important to me.
I then broadened my view a little, and started thinking about the stories of people being evacuated from their houses due to bushfires. Whether their immediate concern was for their family, or their pets, their precious belongings, or their toilet rolls – they had to have priorities in what they wanted to take with them. If they got the chance.
Then I heard from friends facing cancer treatment – either personally or of a close family member. At times like that I suspect that the priority would be to do everything, to endure everything, to give yourself the chance to hang around this crazy world for as long as possible. As a family member of someone undergoing surgery or treatment, your priorities would be to BE there for your loved one, to provide support and encouragement and to help share the load however you can.
People wearing masks in the street – your priority is not whether this is the most comfortable device to wear, especially on a very hot and humid day. Your priority is to help keep those who are vulnerable, safe.
There are always things we rate as important. Whether it’s having at least one or two cups of coffee each day, maintaining contact with lonely loved ones, or breathing in the fresh air on a cool-ish morning, we always have priorities that are ours and ours alone.
Our priorities change as our circumstances change. What may be vitally important to us in our teens is but a quaint memory when we are older. What may have been a priority in our lives this time last year, well there’s a good chance that is no longer the case.
When we or a loved one is sick, priorities change.
When our home is threatened, priorities change.
When there is a global pandemic and we want to play our part in eliminating the threat, priorities change.
When a loved one dies, priorities change.
Priorities can be temporary, they can be eliminated in an instant, they can be trivial to others, and they can sometimes, in retrospect, seem a little trivial to us as well.
But they are ours. They are what gives us direction in our lives for whatever period of time we need it. Sometimes our priorities sync with the priorities of other people and we have common goals, but sometimes our priorities are lonely but determined outcomes we are aiming for.