In a valiant effort to put a somewhat perceptible dent in the massive backlog of photos and notes on my hard drive, today begins a weeklong lightning storm of posts. I am, of course, very braveheartedly attempting to do this during a time when newborn babies are wailing in the background, work-work is pressurizing my bodily carbon into Delicious diamonds, and my normally dormant blogger’s social life has inopportunely decided to explode like a disco bomb into a million shimmering rocks drowning in Citron and soda.
In other words, every single thing in my life – family, career, friends, boys – is screaming to be made Priority One.
*pause for emPHAsis*
*pause for breath*
Everyone has these things called “priorities.” Everyone has the same basic list of high-level priorities. Everyone does this activity of “setting priorities,” whether they think they do or don't. Whether they think they do because they have written priorities down in descending order on the About page of their blogs or they think they don’t – but, oh, they do – because every night at 8 PM when their desks still have fourteen files they choose to go home and have dinner with their families, everyone sets priorities because "priorities" is what we have learned. Either sometime during our senior year career counseling, we were brainwashed by 7th-year seniors into believing that the skill of prioritization is highly desirable, and therefore marketable to prestigious companies offering high-paying salaries, or sometime during that career of a long-line of increasingly higher-paying jobs, we were brainwashed by equally highly-paid “life consultants” into believing that we have to put the big rocks into the life jar first and all the smaller pebbles will fill in the gaps accordingly.
Everyone does this master-level skill-requiring activity of setting priorities differently, both in terms of actual tactical method and in terms of the resulting madness, which means priorities are so totally subjectively subjective that I have to ask "What is the point?"
What is the point of setting priorities? What is the point if everyone else seems to have utter disregard for my remarkable spreadsheet representation of life priorities, accurately stack-ranked based on weighted averages of two variables u and i and where u=urgency, i.e. how badly you need it from me, and i=importance, i.e. how much I care about it?!?!
What is the point?!?!
When taken at the Executive Summary level, my family has always been, still remains, and will forever be, Priority One. However, when we granularize “life” into weeks, days, hours, and if you’re a freak like me, 15-minute increments, daily tasks associated with family, while eternally, unequivocally the most important, (i=10), appear to be less urgent (u=2). Daily calls with my sisters become one-line emails. I put off calling Mom and Dad until Thursday. I show up a little bit late to Sunday dinner because I was knee-deep in…work.
Work, on the other hand, alternates between Two and Three. However, regardless of its stack-ranked order on the Priorities tab of my Life.xls, work is always urgent. Part of that urgency, of course, comes from the nature of the industry. The Internet is open 24 hours and moves at the speed of superheroes. Disregarding the industry though, work always seems urgent because it’s time-based and more importantly, there are no other options. There are no other options. I have to heave myself out of bed every morning at an obscene hour. I have to do the first of what will be infinite rounds of email sweeps before 7 AM. I have to make myself presentable to the small piece of the public that is my team. (I don't have to shower, though. I'm Asian.) I have to commute, have to sit at my miserable little desk in my cramped little office, have to churn out deliverables because...I have no other option.
Unless of course, I could realistically fund my Delicious diamond life with funemployment checks and the $20 I make every month from Google(non)Sense.
Work has multiplied above stressfully urgent and beyond critically important, but since family will never be ousted from the number one spot on my list of priorities, something else has got to give. That something, very woefully, is food because eating is the only thing over which I have enough control to counterbalance the exponential increase in everything else. That which was never rated in either importance or urgency because it was simply understood as the foundation of a delicious lifestyle, has driven me to speed. Not the drug. Speed, a method for controlled sustenance.
Once again, I have gone the way of Black and Blue. Or in this seasonal case, red and raw.
At what is quite possibly the most important nutritive meal of the day because I don't have time to eat lunch or dinner the rest of the day, I barely have time to forage through a badly overgrown pantry for a flake of six-months stale cereal, let alone sit down at the table to eat it out of a bowl with a spoon. All those other priorities in my life have reduced breakfast to some unmeasured amount of suspiciously runny yogurt that's likely too much because I'm on the phone when I'm pouring it into the blender directly from the bulk container, pomegranate juice that splashes onto the counter right next to the circle of dried
juice that I didn't have time to wipe up yesterday, and a handful of frozen cherries from a bag that's still open in the freezer because I didn't close it carefully enough the day before. In 45 seconds, I'm sprinting out the door, cursing because I just wasted 45 seconds making a smoothie.
Oh, and yet.
Where do you think I got those frozen cherries?
Not two days before, I spent two hours on my balcony in the shade of an enormous tree with three bowls on a tray on my lap. For two hours, I pitted fresh cherries. No machine. No unijobber from the wall of kitchen gadgets at Bed, Bath and Beyond. No, for two hours, I painstakingly pitted cherries by hand. Wielding a very small, but deceptively powerful for its size, paring knife, I sliced a ring into the cherry around its pit, ripped the fleshy halves apart, and let them weep their ripe, red blood right into my hands.
Two hours. No spreadsheets. No project plans. No email. No "priorities."
It was my most productive two hours in a very long time.
Cherry Pomegranate Smoothie that is Nothing but Paradox
When I get ready for work, I listen to Ludacris and Pharrell's Shake Your Money Maker to put me in the right, money-making mindset. You put on whatever you like.
Toss a handful of frozen cherries in blender. You can, of course, use fresh berries, but that would totally defeat the purpose of this being a paradox. Use fresh berries only if you're sane.
Add ½ c. each of chilled pomegranate juice and nonfat, plain yogurt. Blend together until smooth, adding more pomegranate juice as needed.
The smoothie is very tart. I don't add sugar because I don't really need it, and fine, if I must admit, I'm just too harried to even remember to add it in.
** a year ago today, habanero made me a hypocrite at fat fish **
** two years ago today, insanity and inspiration strike at once, with fig, peach and ricotta eggrolls with honey ancho dipping sauce **