Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Values, Priorities, and Choices

Values and Priorities @JLenniDorner blogspot image

We have time for what we value the most. 

Sometimes we don't realize what we value the most until we evaluate how we've elected to spend our time.

"But if I don't go to my job, I don't have money to live."

Okay. So you value security. You value the certainty of a roof over your head and knowing your next meal is waiting in the refrigerator. 

"What's wrong with that?"

Nothing. Plenty of people hold that value. Many don't even realize that value is engrained in them. In fact, whole societies base their identity around that value. Entire economic systems are in place based on the assurance that people will continue to value the security of having a home and food. 

But there are people who make the choice to live without that certainty. (There are also people who don't make that choice, but find themselves in such a situation for other reasons.) Nomads still exist. It's a hard life. But there are still people who make the choice to not value security. It means being an outcast. And because it conflicts with society, any time an actual social service is needed, it's much harder to obtain. Plus, nomads are more likely to be abducted by government people for various nefarious purposes because "no one will miss them." 

There's a fantastic book, Plunge, that shows how it's possible to have the money to travel. It means picking travel instead of paying a mortgage or renting an apartment. 

"That's not realistic! I can't do that."

Okay. But some people do that. There are nomadic families. 

There are writers who quit their day job and then publish and hope it'll be enough.

"That's a bad idea."

Yeah, probably. It's certainly against the odds. And it puts a lot more pressure on the writing. But if the person doesn't value security first, they value having the time to write first, then they're living their dream no matter the outcome.

There's nothing wrong with paying bills. Valuing the freedom of not going to jail because of debt. Valuing having a good credit score. Not everyone cares about those things though. I know a guy with terminal cancer who has stopped working and paying his bills. He's figured out what he values and is living his remaining days doing only what he finds important. (This blog would have to be NC-17 XXX for me to detail that value. So he's valuing, umm, satisfaction. Yeah, go with that.)

Some people value having time for their family above everything else.
Some people say they value time with their family above all else, and then make choices that keep them too busy to spend any real time with their family. 

"But the family needs a house, a car, nice clothing, college funds, medical care, etc etc etc..."

Those are mostly things that are part of the security value. (College should be valuing education, but sometimes people don't go just to learn but to try to feel the security that they can bet a better job.) Medical care is maybe valuing life, and will certainly keep Americans fighting to get paid so they can afford to stay alive so they can maybe one day have time to enjoy being alive.

I lost someone close to me a few months ago. She was a hard worker. Held two jobs at several points in her life just to make ends meet. Kept working 20, 40, 60, 90, or 110 hours a week. She talked about the ways she wanted to spend time with people "one day." Was making payments on her retirement dream. Though the numbers said she'd be paying toward that dream until she was about 85, assuming no other bills got in the way. Died at age 62 of a heart attack. Didn't get to spend time doing the things she said she valued, other than the 5 days she took off a year. 

She valued our relationship. A bookmark was found in the middle of Fractions of Existence. She had been reading my book in her precious spare moments. I'll never know if she liked it. We'll never discuss it. 💔

The point is that we all have 24 hours in a day. We might value staying alive, having financial security (along with food and shelter), time with our family, and creative pursuits... 

If we look at how we spend our time, we can see what we are currently valuing.

Then we can decide if that's what we want to value, if we're spending our time on what really matters to us, and make choices to keep going this way or to risk everything to live the life we actually want.


  1. My parents are nomads who sold their house, bought a trailer, and spend their time travelling. And they love it. I could never do that, just because the thought doesn't bring me joy, but I spent time dreaming this morning of what I would do if I didn't have to work. I'd write, practice art, exercise in between the time I already spend with my kids. But yeah, I value being able to ensure my kids are provided for, knowing I have enough money to house them, feed them, pay for medical bills, cover emergency costs. I'd give up my own pursuits to make sure they're cared for. I suppose they are what I value most.

    1. My parents are nomads. I'm actually part of why they adopted that lifestyle. If it weren't for my spouse and certain health needs I have, I actually would go back to the nomad life. Leave all of this behind. I think about it sometimes. Generally at times when the news makes me feel like I might need to do it to stay alive. Messed up times.

  2. Sorry that you recently lost your friends. I think it's important to think about what's important to us and try to find time to do it. Security is important to me, but thankfully it doesn't take all my energy anymore because I was frugal when I worked full-time. I have been writing some every day because it's important to me. But I'm struggling a bit because I'm taking care of my mom so much now. Personally, I wouldn't like a nomadic life.

    1. It's definitely hard to become a primary care giver.

  3. I'm so sorry for your loss. Sometimes it's a matter of finding balance.


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