Priorities & Progress

It’s amazing how many people don’t seem to understand priorities, progress, and how those two intertwine.

I’ve never understood people who can go year to year, staying essentially the same the entire time. The same skill sets, the same books re-read, same music listened to, same opinions, same beliefs, same circular conversations. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been chasing learning to become better and better at everything from minutiae related to my work to cooking myself the perfect omelette to training my pets to do new things. There’s always been something new to try, a topic to learn more about, people to get to know. Life isn’t a rat race, nor do I want to live it as one, but it is a world full of possibilities and beauty that I can’t help but want to explore.

In college, I remember one particular chapel service where the speaker said that, while he was in college, he had grown more than in any period of time before or since. He and I ended up have a pretty cool dialogue after the fact, but what he said stuck with me. Why do we accept that, up until a certain point we grow and learn exponentially, and after that things slow down or even stop?

There are plenty of people in my own life that I’ve seen grow and change consistently over the years, but more than a few that seem stagnant. What they think is all that is true, what they did is the only right way to do things, and if everyone just lived like they did the world would be perfect. We should all just bow to them, even if where they’ve ended up is nowhere near where we want to go. Even as their lives change around them, they don’t seem to care about changing with it.

What a boring way to live.

I don’t pretend to have much of anything figured out, but I’m trying, and constantly trying to grow and learn and reclaim pieces of myself. There hasn’t been a single week at my job that I haven’t been learning a new skill on some level, from new software to writing on different topics. There’s rarely a trip to the grocery store where I’m not buying a new food or shopping for a new recipe. I’m constantly figuring out new things to teach Ink. I love intentionally making time for my people and learning more about and from them. There is almost always a new halfway-read book on my shelf. There is so much to learn and so many ways to change myself and my life for the better, that I can’t imagine not trying to do so every single day of my life.

I love the process of progress. I love the way that pain and other signals drive growth and change, as my mind and body tell me over and over what’s good for me and what isn’t. I love how sore my muscles are after a good physical therapy session. I love the way I focus in on a new challenge that I know I will conquer. I can’t imagine life without embracing the driving forces of change.

Here’s to change and progress, not just superficially or for the first week of January, but to the process of always pursuing better, healthier, happier, and simpler.

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