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Priorities: Thoughts on Human Welfare

It is human nature that we all desire to be happy. We go about it in many ways, but no one would argue that being unhappy is desirable. It follows then that we’d want to focus on the things that make us the happiest. Regrettably many lives are prioritized quite differently.

A significant portion of society rushes around in dire need trying to keep life moving along. Not everyone lives this way. There are those who know little of this desperation, who soak up life like a sponge taking immense pleasure in the journey. The difference lies in the emphasis that is given to priorities, specifically the things deemed most important to happiness instead of the moment.

Time

As we grow older we discover that among all things valuable, the limited time we have on earth is one of the most precious. Happiness is achieved by not wasting a moment of it. Time is the great equalizer among all walks of life as it can never be bargained for. No matter how successful, rich, popular or well liked we are, our days are filled with the same twenty-four hours as everyone else. Time, once lost, cannot be recovered. We can get more money, repair old friendships, restore lost credit, but time not spent well is precious time wasted.

When we are young time seems almost infinite, in big enough supply to ensure that we have all the days we will ever need to accomplish everything we hope to do. But our time is limited even if we don’t accept it, and if we don’t value every moment, we will inevitably look back only wishing we had more.

Some people talk of “killing time” as though it was a hindrance. What a terrible thought. If we value our time so little that we’d rather lose it than enjoy it then we really need to reevaluate how we are spending our days.

Life is the accumulation of all our moments, not just the big ones. How many of us would pay considerably for a chance to just to relive even five seconds of some moment in our past? What sense does it make to take the present moments for granted, passed over as though they were nothing more than a build up to something bigger? We won’t get the chance to experience the same time over again, so we need to consider what we may be missing by letting it carelessly slip by.

It is inevitable that everyone must spend some of their life sacrificing time to secure a future or help those around them. But we must consider carefully how we dole out our available time. What is the full cost of our next major purchase? Will any of the things we are focused on now even matter in a few years?

Experience

No matter how well a meal is prepared, it has little value if it’s never eaten. Yet how many of us spend the bulk of our lives preparing for a meal we only hope to eat? Preparation and material goals have their roles, but we must put aside some room for life experience and the things that build memories or we risk producing a rather mediocre existence.

Do we value possessions more than substance? When we compare a good distant memory to something we purchased long ago, the value of each becomes apparent. Good memories grow fonder with time whereas the things we acquire lose their excitement. Yet many people will focus a large part of life only working towards material possessions. There are certainly times when we need to save for tangible items that improve the quality of our lives, but no one wants a life made of up of only a series of remodeled kitchens.

What we experience is the substance of our past and few happy people have their purchases listed among their life’s highlights. It is important to take the time to make those memories by ensuring that life experience is among our top priorities.

We have only a single life to spend. Happiness is all around us and doesn’t cost a thing if we are willing to treat our entire life as an adventure. But this doesn't happen if we prioritize trying to get “things”.


People

What is achievement if it cannot be shared? What is fun if it’s accompanied only by solitude? Whether we succeed or fail, laugh or cry, with the right attitude we always have an unlimited source of happiness to be found from the genuine relationships with other people. Happiness begins internally but is amplified when shared with those we care about. We must be asking whether we give proper emphasis to those we care about. Do we make them a priority in our lives the way they should be?

It is difficult to quantify the value of friendship and love as neither can be simply acquired. It is easy to recognize the value of each. No matter what we find in life, few things will ever be as important as the people closest to us. It is unfortunately a poor human habit to take people for granted.

Who among any of us is not guilty of having made a priority out of far less important things than those who we care most about? We should not need a reminder to love those who mean the most to us but it’s far too common to find things like work, money, and an assortment of items that take on more importance than relationships.

Failing to see how detrimental prioritizing the wrong things can be is excruciatingly short sighted. There are simply too many relationships broken apart because the needs of the day are made to take on a higher priority than the needs of the relationship. With love as a priority, how could things like money and petty disagreements ever compete?

True love would have one go to the ends of the earth to ensure the other’s happiness. If we want this in return we must offer it first and show it in our actions by keeping our friends and family a top priority. At times, we may have to swallow our pride and set other needs aside, but the payoff is far greater. If we achieved everything but had no one who cared we might still find life to be lonely and shallow. Yet if we lost everything but still had our friends and loved ones around, we’d manage just fine and even find good reasons to be very happy.

People won’t always wait around for us to figure out our priorities. It’s unreasonable to expect love and friendship in return without first showing it with what we choose to prioritize. Do our actions show that we prioritize those we care about? There are no substitutes for genuine love and friendship. If the only ingredient in happiness was the love of another we’d still be lucky. The choice to put those we care about most at the top of our priorities is critical to our ultimate happiness.

Many things will matter, but surely not everything. Never forget to assess your priorities.

Unknown

About Unknown -

My name is Todd William and I’m an indie author. I like to focus on the positives in life. I’m like kryptonite for cynics. I’m a dedicated father and husband, a science and tech buff, a psychology enthusiast, chess and MMA fanatic, and noble introvert. My biggest fault might just be that I’m annoyingly happy all the time.

I’m addicted to books. I read constantly on a variety of topics, the result being that I tend to know a little about a lot of things yet not a whole lot about any one thing. I lay no claim to superior wisdom. I merely have an unyielding appetite for knowledge coupled with a strong desire to contemplate intriguing thoughts.