I’m no Buddhist monk, and I can’t say I’m in love with renunciation in itself, or traveling an hour or more to print out an article I’ve written, or missing out on the N.B.A. Finals. But at some point, I decided that, for me at least, happiness arose out of all I didn’t want or need, not all I did. And it seemed quite useful to take a clear, hard look at what really led to peace of mind or absorption (the closest I’ve come to understanding happiness). Not having a car gives me volumes not to think or worry about, and makes walks around the neighborhood a daily adventure. Lacking a cell phone and high-speed Internet, I have time to play ping-pong every evening, to write long letters to old friends and to go shopping for my sweetheart (or to track down old baubles for two kids who are now out in the world).
Even though their influence informs every decision we make on the most tactical level, thinking about priorities happens at a strategic, “why am I here?” level. Right? Maybe? Disagree? Pretty sure you can make priorities like biscuits or shuffle them around like Monopoly pieces?
Got news for you, Jack: if it moves, it’s not a priority. It’s just a thing you haven’t done yet.
Making something a BIG RED TOP TOP BIG HIGHEST #1 PRIORITY changes nothing but text styling. If it were really important, it’d already be done. Period. Think about it.
Example. When my daughter falls down and screams, I don’t ask her to wait while I grab a list to determine which of seven notional levels of “priority” I should assign to her need for instantaneous care and affection. Everything stops, and she gets taken care of. Conversely — and this is really the important part — everything else in the universe can wait.
I’ve probably read this 5 times at least some parts probably more than 10. I am trying to live. I am trying to find the/my priority. I am incomplete, I am confused, I am human.