90-to-40: Getting clear on priorities

Day 58:

Reader Topic #2:  Priorities

My brain hurts. I started typing my blog tonight and filled the page with witty, self-righteous crap about how priorities are about choices, and making the right choices will impact your future positively. Likewise, I had examples of how bad choices impact the future in not-so-positive ways.  Blah, Blah, Blah!

The truth is... priorities change over time. And... no one has a right to tell you what your priorities should be. In fact, I'm not even sure we can choose all of our priorities. It's when we place the emphasis on the wrong things that our lives go out of control. And when we come back to "what matters most" the storms calm and we find peace, confidence and joy in our lives.

With all of that said, I've found this topic VERY difficult to write about. So, I'm just going to tell you about one of my life-long priorities - and how my priorities have changed over time - and the impact on my life up to now.

Priority 1: Writing
As a child, I had dreams of being a writer. I was passionate about it - even if I didn't have the language skills to describe it at the time. That passion, and the importance I placed on my dreams, colored every action I took in my life. I recall reading "Little House on the Prairie" as a kid over and over again because I wanted to write like that. I wanted to paint pictures with words. I believed I would someday write a book and I held onto that belief.

When I went to college, I struggled. I struggled BAD. I became frustrated and switched majors several times. All the while, I knew that the work I was doing involved improving my writing skills, language skills, knowledge of the world and how people's minds worked. At various points during my education, I majored everything from Journalism, to Psychology, to Sociology to Management. These topics didn't feed my passion, but I was building the necessary skills and experience. I prayed some day I'd have an opportunity to write.

As an adult, I had to take care of myself and my household. I had responsibilities. These things became my priority, but I never lost the desire to write. I kept writing and sought out opportunities to do creative work. I wrote poetry and practically threw myself under the back tires of people who did - what I deemed to be - awesome things about writing.

I volunteered myself to take part in anything that allowed me to be creative and/or write at my job. Even though my job was NOT literary, I found opportunities. Even when I found myself in very technical, customer facing roles, I kept my focus in the back of my mind. I chose NOT to pursue upper management roles in Customer Service because it didn't feed my passions. But, I always did a good job and gave my all for the job I had committed to.

I continued to do what I loved - creative writing - even when I didn't get paid to do it. I made opportunities to write. When faced with options, I chose the more literary of them. I took poetry classes while studying for a Human Resources degree and created my own blog.

Throughout the years, there were times when my commitments meant completely abandoning my passion of writing to put food on the table. But I went back to it - over and over again.

Now, I am a Copywriter for a major wireless communication company with a focus on social media. I have a REALLY cool blog that I'm working on, and I have a long list of accomplishments for not-so-lucrative, but very meaningful writing projects. I have earned the respect of a few intelligent and successful people, and alienated (or pissed off) a few too. I am the most broadly traveled person in my family, and among some of my friends. And, along the way, I earned three degrees.

What it all means to me
I'm not blowing my own horn. Everything that I've done amazes ME. I'm HUMBLED beyond words by some of the experiences and accomplishments I've had thus far. I'm blown away by the fact that I'm even sitting here today... AND WRITING for a living, as well as for pleasure. It is remarkable!

Why is all of this important?
Because... one of my passions - my desire to write - was a critical priority in my life. Even when other things took my attention away - it was still there under the surface. It survived the currents of life and always returned. It grew stronger and more important every day.

I can't begin to explain what makes a priority important, or promise that priorities always equate to success. But, I can attest to why writing was a priority in MY life. It's because I LOVE it - and always have. I couldn't imagine my life without expressing myself in writing. I am only at peace when I'm writing on a regular basis.

What I believe
I believe that priorities cannot be made, they are a part of who we are. They change as we change - sometimes daily! They ebb and flow like the ocean tides, but they don't go away. Sometimes they overwhelm us, sometimes they lift us up, sometimes they smash us into the rocks. Sometimes, they save our lives. Sometimes, they take our lives. But, the bottom line is that we must always come back to them - it's impossible to ignore them.

On top of all that - the word itself is plural - meaning that we have multiple going on at any given time. It's like having oceans competing against each other for the shore. Maybe the best we can do is to learn to honor them... and then go with the flow.

More to come...


Anonymous said...

Great job Cuz! Very well said

Craig Purcell said...