Scheme C: “Priorities”
Published (gregorian) (ornellember)
Tags: schemeexistential series
This is a post I am writing a few days into D, but I am going to pretend I published it on time as scheme C. The reason it’s a little late is kind of explained by the rest of the post!
At some point in the spring of last year - I wish I remembered when exactly - I came up with a simple system to prioritize my life, and it’s worked really well for me.
I do the things that make me happy first, do the things that help my health second, and do the things that I want to do third.
I’ve always wanted to take pottery lessons. Let me rephrase: I’ve always wanted to do a lot of things, and in 2021, pottery lessons were pretty high on the list.
In August of last year, I was finally, mostly, settled into my new city, and boom - I found a pottery studio! Only a few minutes away, pretty fairly priced, cool-looking. Spots tended to sell out in minutes, so I signed up for the mailing list, and when released availability for an upcoming class, I jumped on the opportunity! 6 weeks, Wednesday nights, 7pm-10pm. Exciting!
The first day, I left Pixie with her dog-sitter, and biked to the studio. I was a little tired, and had to miss standup, but I was psyched. This was going to be fun.
A couple hours in, however, elbows deep in clay, I realized fun wasn’t really the word.
It was interesting, it was enjoyable, but it wasn’t fun. The subtle, go-with-the-flow approach to throwing clay is pretty much the opposite of how I’m used to dealing with the world. I couldn’t let my instincts take over, because my instincts were to just push the thing into place, which just does not work. As a result, I had to stay very focused, continuously, for most of the three hours, on being gentle. By the time I got home, I was exhausted, and had a mild headache.
But this was still really cool!
The next Wednesday, someone I’d been in contact with had had a COVID exposure, so I was waiting for my test results, and missed the session. After I got my result, I had a catch-up session on my own on the weekend. Again, it was interesting! I felt like I was making my brain explore a new pathway, and playing with clay is really nice.
The following week, Wednesday night, I was, again, tired, but I went. I ended the night covered in mud, with a huge headache, on the verge of passing out. When I got home, and thought about my priority list.
Was this making me happy? Not really.
Was this helping my health? No, kind of the contrary, actually.
The only thing that this Wednesday night pottery class had going for it was that I had wanted to do it.
So the next Wednesday night, at 6:45, I left Pixie with the dog sitter, I biked halfway to the studio, to a cute Italian restaurant; and I enjoyed a nice dinner and wine on the docks.
There’s always a lot of things I want to do. I’m a curious person. However, I’ve found that when I prioritize my curiosity above anything else, I end up not having the best time. My plan was to give pottery a shot, but keep in mind that checking it off the bucket list was only third on my priority list, and if it got in the way (as it did) of either of the first two, I’d drop it like a thousand-year-old clay vase.
For me, this series is kind of like that! It makes me happy to write it, but it’s a totally arbitrary commitment, so I’m not going to stress about it. If you’re reading this, know I had a good time writing it.