Selfishness & Priorities

In interviews and on some versions on my resume, I mention that one of my valuable skills is being able to prioritize tasks. In an objective sense, this is true. Give me a bunch of things that need to get done, and I have no problem deciding how and when to do the tasks. Four new hire files to audit? Personal development plan that needs revision? Three inch stack of motor vehicle reports to audit? Quality check corrections? Code cleanup for a client? Compiling and organizing information for the OneNote notebook on electronic on-board recorders? Revise and distribute meeting notes from the morning’s conference call? It will all get done. (For the record: quality check corrections, meeting notes, two new hires, half the motor vehicle reports, code cleanup, two new hires, last half of motor vehicle reports, OneNote project and personal development plan if time allows.)

Look at this portion of my cubicle and be impressed.

Look at this portion of my cubicle and be impressed.

Short-term planning is not an issue for me. Long-term planning is difficult. My typical planning skills don’t translate to my life-planning. I realized this today, when I got home after 7, nearly too tired to shower or eat.

I will be getting my own apartment in June, and I was made aware of the fact that I have virtually no savings. So, I decided to pick up some extra hours at work to store some money away for when I’ll be living without a roommate. I’ll need to get a few pieces of furniture, a set of pans, possibly a television, and probably a dozen odds and ends I won’t think of until my toilet’s clogged and I’m wondering how I could be so stupid to live without a plunger. Also, I’d like to get a car that was made post-Y2k.

Hush. It was a straight road. 150,000mi deserves a damn picture because Facebook.

Hush. It was a straight road. 150,000mi deserves a damn picture because Facebook.

I’m still training for that 5k I mentioned a few weeks back, so I was at the gym for an hour. My 5k time is still hovering right around 36ish minutes since I slacked off for a couple weeks. I try to run more if I can, but I’m not always motivated.

Hey self! You're too slow.

Hey self, you’re too slow.

When I got home, I wanted to read the book on Scientology (L. Ron Hubbard was an evil, manipulative genius. Going Clear is sensational.). Then I wanted to respond to my penpal’s letter I received late last week. Then I got a shiver from my ceiling fan cooling the sweat on my back, so I was reminded I needed to shower. Then my stomach grumbled and I realized I needed to make something for dinner. Then I remembered a new episode of New Girl was on and I wanted to watch that. Then I remembered the two essays I still have to write for a scholarship I’m applying for.

Then I remembered I want to write. I want to blog more. I want to churn out new content on a regular basis. But I also want to revisit drafts I’ve allowed to pile up for the last year. I want to write that one essay on maturity that’s been bouncing around my head for two years. I started wondering what I was doing with my life. And then Vince called.

Libraries are great for blogging abotu your childhood journals.

Libraries are great for blogging about your childhood journals.

What do I want more? A cute apartment? A new car? A final draft of those essays? A warm meal? The ability to run 5k in less than 38 minutes without wanting to hurl afterward? A mutually fulfilling relationship? Another finished book? My vibrato and bow hold back?

I like to confuse my upstairs neighbor by quickly alternating between Bach, irish jigs, and bluegrass waltzes.

I like to confuse my upstairs neighbor by quickly alternating between Bach, irish jigs, bluegrass waltzes, and classic Frank Sinatra tunes.

I try to accomplish the big things I feel I can control, which usually leaves the smaller things to fall to the side. As a result, I work too much and save my personal pleasures like writing, playing violin, and reading for that ever-elusive “later.”

It should be a law that Sunday mornings are meant for paper books and breakfast in bed.

It should be a law that Sunday mornings are for paper books & breakfast in bed.

I try to keep things in perspective when I plan my day: hitting my 5k goal isn’t something I can just decide to do one day. It takes time, a lot of miles put in on the treadmill, and just the right selection of songs on Spotify. Driving a decent car and furnishing my first sans-roommate living quarters will take money I don’t currently have and since overtime is available, I need to take advantage of it.

As much as I’d like to write more, it maintains an air of abstraction. It will never be done. No matter how great a piece ends up, there will always be more to write. I’ll never say, “Okay, I’ve done all the writing. I can move onto all the violin-playing, and then onto all the book-reading.”

What I’m going through right now is too selfish to be adulthood. An adult is able to provide support and affection for her family. An adult selflessly spends time with a partner. An adult doesn’t get upset when a day goes by without reading. An adult puts others’ needs before her own.

I know that at 25 I am a woman for all intents and purposes, but my obsession with my own  whims almost certainly categorizes me as a girl.

I’m not sure if I should feel bad about that.

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5 thoughts on “Selfishness & Priorities

      • They are always getting in the way of me achieving my dreams of sitting on the couch and playing video games all day. And what is worse, they are playing games more and more causing me to miss out even more. Arrrghhh. Good thing they are cute or I would sell them to the gypsies.

  1. I think this is the perfect time in your life to be selfish, and you should totally embrace it! I’m sure you’ll be perfectly selfless when the time (kids, family) comes and glad you took the time to focus on yourself before that happens.

  2. I have recently been thinking about the same things. I can prioritize at the office, but not at home. I have started making some headway since we are planning having kids soon after we move back to the states – that gives me roughly 2-3 years of being selfish. This week: I sewed a new skirt, we are starting ballroom lessons (where I will wear the skirt), and I am going to hot-yoga. I did not however: enter our receipts into the online budget, take a shower yesterday morning, clean our messy apartment, read any comic books or books, or write anything.

    I think it takes practice being an adult. We have to learn to be selfish once in a while, if we aren’t we won’t be happy when we have to give up time for kids, spouses, work, etc.

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