I hated that word growing up. I felt like I heard about it, or my lack of ability to do it, constantly. School came before going out, weekend chores before watching TV. If I veered off the right path (which, admittedly, happened a few times), I could always count on my Dad to sternly remind me that I needed to get my priorities straight.
A couple of years ago, one of my frequently wandering friends had put up a Facebook status about the next adventure he was about to embark on. A girl I didn’t know commented on it, saying how jealous she was and that it must be nice to live the life that he did. “You could too, if you prioritized”, he replied. Long story short, she got extremely pissed about his seemingly arrogant response to her comment and let him know, which made for highly entertaining reading. But that’s beside the point. The reason this whole exchange was significant to me is that I distinctly remember that conversation, and probably will for years, because my friend’s simple reply was the spark behind an important personal revelation: Anyone can be, do, or see anything they could ever want to, as long as you make that goal your priority. What you choose doesn’t have to be the list that society gives you, or even what you grew up with. Not only that, but travel and priority could be used together in the same sentence, in the same thought even, without there being anything wrong with it. If I’ve doubted myself, there has always been something to back up my epiphany: RTW tickets, travel blogs, conversations with strangers whose thoughts are a part of the same nomadic mindset.
Preparing for this trip, I understand now more than ever why my Dad was insistent on the concept and practice of prioritization as I was growing up. I might even be grateful for it…although I’m pretty sure he never expected me to put that specific life lesson to use quite the way that I have. Or maybe he did. Maybe he knew that homework before hanging out was only practice for the day that it would be up to me to choose my own path, and he wanted to make sure that I possessed the strength and discipline to keep myself straight enough to reach a goal worthy of obtaining; to ensure that my top priority would always be a life full of living.
Have your priorities changed from those you had growing up? What’s currently at the top of your list?