I recently started wondering, where are my priorities? Are they in a good place? I think I have some in a good spot, while others could be tweaked a bit. The first question you have to ask yourself is, what should my priorities be?
If you’ve ever gone to church, almost all of them will tell you something along the lines of put God first. While there is a whole other debate on religion and Christianity, I’m not going to delve into that today, I’m merely pointing it out to help you understand why my priorities are the way they are. I do think the Bible has one very important point: Love your neighbor as yourself. As I kept reading, I believe the Bible has it right, but Christians have it wrong. The Bible not only says to love your neighbor as yourself, but also to “not forsake the assembling of yourselves together” (not just in church) (Hebrews), and to be “sincere” in love (1 Peter).
Your time here on earth is short when you look at the big picture. The last 10 years have flown by in what seems like seconds compared to what it felt like when I was a youth. To me, there is nothing more meaningful than the relationships you make while you are here. They are valuable, and precious; and most of them do not last even this entire life. In my case, one of my relationships happens to be God, so in essence, I do put that at the top of my priority list, as I find inspiration from the Bible on how to live better than any human, but people are my 2nd biggest priority. This ranges from family to friends to new acquaintances, basically to whoever allows me into their life. Some view this as clingy or needy, but I would not change a thing. The people I have met have shaped me into who I am, whether we had good moments or bad. They have influenced me in ways I cannot imagine differently, and more than anything, I can tell the difference between sincere friendship, and someone who’s just faking it to “be nice,” which generally turns out to come across as the complete opposite. With the exception of my brother, the majority of my relationships center around comedic effect; I try to make light-hearted jokes about almost everything. People complain so much about their life sucking, but in a reality check, if you are American, you likely shouldn’t be complaining. Sure, sometimes life goes down a certain path, the best way I’ve found to deal with it is laugh it off. There’s no sense in being depressed over something I cannot change (On a side note, depression is a serious issue, I am not insinuating people to just “get over it,” this is simply my means of handling those rough situations). That actually brings me to my next point: not everyone handles things through comedy. This is my big flaw, because I just don’t know how to be that vulnerable without someone getting hurt in the process, or more likely, my nature of wanting to joke will come out at inappropriate times, and thus ruin a friendship. I genuinely want people to be happy, and this is a mistake. There are times when it’s appropriate to be sad. I would not joke around at a funeral, it is a time of grievance. Mourning with those who mourn creates a sympathetic and empathetic bond that goes beyond friendship; it is shared respect for someone who shared a special bond with both of you (in most cases). If you haven’t cried at a funeral, I would have you ask one question: do I take relationships seriously enough? Am I so invested in a person that I don’t just cry at their funeral, but I cry when they mess up, or when they hurt themselves? Otherwise, we become robots, incapable of feelings.
So, what causes this lack of feeling?
Well, I suppose it’s different for everyone. For one, I feel as though sometimes my feelings are zapped up by video games, and (ironically) computers (facebook in particular). If my time is invested in a game, my emotions tend to come out with the game–frustration due to difficulty, overjoyed at beating a hard part, and I have even at times been a little choked up either by musical background or a great story. In particular, I remember being teary-eyed thanks to a scene in Final Fantasy III for SNES between Celes & Locke. Now, if I could view my relationships in the same light, as having to fight through those tough parts, it might make a difference. Maybe my emotional levels are exhausted by the games, but even if I stop playing them I don’t suddenly begin displaying emotion to all my friends; thus I think it required a more interactive experience with people than what is currently existing.
Moving on to a different priority, what about careers/jobs/finances/money/wealth? How important should this be?
Well, I will simply leave it at this: The more money you make, the more likely you are doing something either corrupt, illegal, or at least taking advantage of someone. I learned this best in banking: We try to create a need for someone who doesn’t really need something in order to sell them something they don’t really need, and more often than not should not get. For example, a loan or credit card. Even if you work in HR, you are still supporting a company that most likely does this. Here’s where I stand: I recently saw a friend post on facebook that the world’s messed up because every goes to college and ends up doing a job they hate, so they should just go do the job they love. The example in this particular video was bungee jumping, indicating that the bungee jumpers should start a shop selling bungee equipment and other outdoor materials. The problem with this is that it lacks a true understanding of a business model. To sell a bungee cord, you need a bungee cord. To have a bungee cord, someone needs to make a bungee cord. To make a bungee cord, there needs to be factory workers, an authoritative manager who drives the production process and makes sure his employees are working; distributors, shippers, exporters, importers, people who make harnesses and hooks, the list goes on and on and on.
Let’s take this further: In order to start a business, you need entrepreneurial skills, and a good understanding of business plans (startup, plan of action, mission statement, health code awareness), accounting (ledgers, balance sheets, factory overhead) among many other factors. It is not that simple to just “do what you love,” because generally you will end up hating what you once loved to do. So, how should we prioritize jobs? For me, this again goes back to relationships, all my priorities circle back to relationships. I need to know that I will like my team, and yet respect them. I have learned over the years that I need to enjoy my coworkers more than anything else. The job itself doesn’t have to be overly enjoyable as long as I have coworkers and i can laugh with. I have also learned that while managers do need to be authoritative at times, there is a fine line between authoritative and disrespectful, or even sometimes abusive. Thankfully right now I have a great management team that displays the better sentiments of those qualities. Furthermore, the motivation for your job should be to support yourself, and your family if you are the provider, so the priority really isn’t the job, the priority is again the relationships; the job is only the means to which to handle that priority.
What are your thoughts?