Kansas Collection books

Updating Priorities

spaceman saluting next to an American flag

    "That's impossible --- you might as well try flying to the moon," my grandmother said, in an exasperated voice.

    As a 9-year old, in our country school, I had been studying world geography and learned how long it took for sailing ships to sail from one country to another --- or around the world.  I had just experienced my first airplane ride.  At the county fair, a barnstorming pilot would give you a 10-minute ride for $5.  That took all my spending money for the fair, plus some more I begged from Grandpa.  My question to Grandma was, why couldn't I get in an airplane and fly around the world?  Her answer was "That's impossible --- you might as well try flying to the moon."  Flying to the moon was not a high priority with Grandma --- it was not even a possibility --- not then anyway.

    As one travels through a lifetime, we are faced with changing times and conditions that require changing our priorities as to what we should do next.  Sometimes circumstances help establish our priorities.  For instance, it is not difficult to determine that your first priority in the morning is a trip to the bathroom.  Many of us do not realize we are constantly making decisions that are based upon our priorities at that moment.

    What seemed so terribly important a few years ago may not be of much importance today.  Back in high school and college, girls were high on my priority list.  Today girls are nice to know and have around, but for different reasons.  Mother Nature helped me change my priorities.

    It's a good idea to take a look at yourself every so often.  A mirror is a good place to ask yourself if you are chasing the rabbit (pursuing the right goals).  If you succeed with what you are doing, will you be happy?  If your answer is no --- or maybe --- you had better update your priorities.

    Those people who can and will change their priorities as needed, can be classified as "survivors."  They are usually around for a long time, because they bend instead of breaking.  Those who cannot, or will not, adjust are often victims of their own environment.

    Grandma changed my priorities that day with a direct command.  "If you expect me to cook you and your Grandpa some supper you had better get me some wood for the cook stove.  Yes, and a fresh bucket of water, too." When you are hungry and you hear that kind of talk, your priorities change pretty fast.  As I gathered an armload of wood, I recalled a comment I heard Grandpa make one day in response to the same command.  "Woman, I'm going to put on your gravestone that you died for the want of wood and water."

    Grandma had priorities all right.  But she was flexible, and was constantly updating them, and her opinions, too.  She lived to be 93.  A few months before she passed away, she told me she had heard over the news that Pan-American Airways had just established around-the-world air service.  I didn't remind her that she once told me that it was impossible.

    A decade after Grandma passed away, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin flew to the moon, landed and then returned to tell us about it.

    Now, if you will excuse me, I need to update my priorities.  Things have changed since yesterday.

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