Priorities v. Mess

Since my life as a writer has not entirely been the contemplative, creative wonderland I envisioned, the generous part of me feels urged to offer some glimpses into the existence someone who dreams of making a career of writing might lead, as well as some tips about how to manage such a life and career.

This morning a fellow showed up to give an estimate for repaving the parking lot in front of the house where I live with Zoe, my little girl. The place was built in 1954. Lots of stuff needs fixing, replacing, re-tilling, replanting etc.

Someone made and gave me a front door with the images of a couple of my book covers where the little windows would otherwise be. When this fellow came to the door, he noticed I was a writer. And later, while inspecting the area where the asphalt goes, he noticed a large crack in a slab of concrete that leads to the garage door. He asked if I wanted that concrete replaced.

I said no.

He said, “Sure, you’re a writer, and you don’t care about stuff like keeping the house and yard perfect. I know lots of artists, and you guys are all like that.”

I thought, it’s not that I wouldn’t prefer concrete that isn’t cracked. It’s that cracked concrete doesn’t show up on my list of priorities.

And over lunch I thought about how important it is to know what our priorities are and to develop a life that works with our priorities. The complications of this challenge are myriad, because each of us is connected to others with different priorities, and in many cases those people are priorities of ours. And then, at seasons of our lives, seasons of the year, or on account of finances, health, or new insights, our priorities may change.

The point is, whenever a decision is called for, we need to recognize the need to review our priorities. And once we’ve recognized the need, we had better do the reviewing and then adapt to the latest version. Otherwise, our lives may become a confounding mess.