Priority Lists

Paleo Retiree writes:

During my 30 years as a media flunky, most of my friends were performers, writers, designers, journalists, artists, etc. Since retiring four years ago, though, I’ve been spending at least half my time among what I think of as “civilians” — non creative-class people. And, during this recent stretch, one of the things that has struck me most forcibly is how different the priority list of a civilian is from the priority list of a creative-class person.

The priority-list of a civilian might look, top to bottom, something like this:

  • Kids
  • Boss
  • Kids
  • School
  • Kids
  • Investments
  • Kids
  • Neighbors and relatives
  • Kids
  • Marriage — try to remember to have sex!
  • Kids

Meanwhile, the priority-list of someone in the creative class might well look like this:

  • Finish poem
  • Have sex
  • Give agent a nudge
  • Drinks with friends
  • Figure out how to pay bills

The contrast is so great that it leaves me scratching my head over the way many civilians dream about being creative. They’d like to paint, or write, or perform — they really would.

I don’t laugh at these dreams. In many ways, the arts depend for their existence on people having foolish/sweet dreams. Still, I do marvel at the way many civilians imagine that, on top of their already-existing (and extensive) obligations and pleasures, they might add “write a novel” or “become a fine cook.” Are they nuts?

It’s just a fact that creative people go about life differently than civilians do. Creative people don’t say to themselves, “Time to get that first draft down on paper — but only after I’ve completed the kitchen renovation.” Creative people put “write that novel” at the very top of their priority list. The kitchen renovation can wait. The kitchen renovation probably won’t happen at all, come to think of it. There isn’t enough time or energy.

Different priorities, different lives.

It occurs to me that one of the great things about blogging is that it’s a creative outlet that doesn’t require you to sacrifice big stretches of normal life in order to be able to take part and contribute.

About Paleo Retiree

Onetime media flunky and movie buff and very glad to have left that mess behind. Formerly Michael Blowhard of the cultureblog Now a rootless parasite and bon vivant on a quest to find the perfectly-crafted artisanal cocktail.
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2 Responses to Priority Lists

  1. Fenster says:

    That civilian list looks awfully familiar. Ergo blogging just as you say.

    I will say I do have one creative pursuit that fits on the civilian list: cooking. Now I have no interest in being a high end chef since I am not partial to a lot of high end food, which to me smacks of conspicuous consumption dolled up as good design. But I have eclectic food tastes and very much enjoy making kimchi or callos and pass them off to the family where possible.


  2. Cooking has got to be one of the very best creative hobbies for people on the “normal” path. (One of the best hobbies for anyone, come to think of it.) Fun, sensual, practical … Plus people love you for your work. In line with my posting, though: I’m amazed by the way many “normals” don’t just imagine learning how to cook — a realistic possibility — but becoming super-duper, chef-quality cooking stars (unlikely). Their right, of course. But I can’t help wondering if it doesn’t interfere with the actual doing-and-enjoying: “If I can’t be a high-end chef, then I won’t do any cooking at all!”, that kind of thing.


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