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What Are Your Priorities at This Stage of Your Life?


Original source for letters ONLY is

Original source for letters ONLY is

Priority: Definition

Priority: something that is more important than other things, and that needs to be done or dealt with first

Priorities: the things that one cares about and thinks are important

- From Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

How do you decide which comes first?

I took blank sign posts and added my text

I took blank sign posts and added my text

Your Priorities

Children are a priority

No one understands the shift in priorities about having a child in your life... until you have a child in your life.

-- Sandra Bullock

Priorities Often Get Changed Around

Did you find it hard to pick just one?

If you did, you are not alone, when you consider how busy our lives are and all that we have to juggle in order to keep up with the responsibilities and demands on our time.

On any given day, your Number One Priority really could be any of those things. And it could all change the very next day.

That's because every day, one or more of the responsibilities moves up the list to the top position and summons your attention for some part of the day. All others are put on a back burner for the time being.

In an ideal world, we could hope to deal with one priority at a time. But responsibilities being what they are, we often see multiple issues, all vying the top priority spot at the same time. Often one main priority awaits the outcome of two lesser priorities to solve the overall dilemma.

Prioritize This List:

  1. Your car has a flat tire, but you don't know how to change it.
  2. You are due at the babysitter's to pick up your children by five because the babysitter has to leave for her night job at six.
  3. You have to call the takeout store because your dinner takeout order was supposed to be picked up half an hour ago.
  4. You must call AAA to come change the flat tire and get an time estimate to know how long you'll have to wait.
  5. You need to notify the babysitter to tell her what happened, so she can call her mother to come stay with your children until you get there, and so she can leave for work on time.

Your children, of course, are your Number One Priority because of the time crunch of the babysitter's schedule to leave home for her night job. But you have another dilemma that requires more urgent attention.

Reordering the list will prioritize what has to be done first, second, third, etc to bring the problem to a solution with the least amount of repeat steps (backtracking).

Answer: 4, 5, 3.

Putting Number 4 in the Top Priority position gets the ball rolling to set events in motion toward a solution, because without AAA to your rescue, you can not proceed further without making multiple and perhaps repeat steps.

  • AAA gave you an arrival time window of between 30 and 45 minutes. They estimated another 30 minutes to complete the tire change. This is key information to know, not only for you but for the other people who are now directly affected by your flat tire incident.
  • If for some reason AAA had a two hour wait or no service person to come to you, then you would have had to make more phone calls to get alternative assistance AND your other phone calls would have changed the priorities of those who are dependent on your timely arrival.
  • If you had decided to call the babysitter first without having a flat tire remedy plan in place, you would be making repeat calls to her to constantly update the situation. Performing Number 4 first eliminates multiple phone calls.
  • Also, by performing Number 4 first, you have prioritized the primary problem that will lead to a solution. Armed with the all-important information of time estimates, which others will be relying on, you have reduced the need for making multiple phone calls. Making one phone call with complete information gives each person who is dependent on your timely arrival all the tools they need to prioritize their own responsibilities. So Number 4 is first.

While you are waiting for AAA, your next Priority will be to attend to Number 5, now that you are confident that AAA is on the way.

  • Even though your children are your overall Top Priority, as stated above, making the babysitter your first phone call would not be a wise choice because you would be causing yourself extra steps in the long run by having to call her back multiple times with updated information regarding your repair situation, especially if AAA were not able to service your tire and you needed to call around for more assistance.
  • By handling this call second, you are able to provide the babysitter with pertinent and complete information that AAA is helping you, their arrival and job completion estimate times. Now you can build a plan from this point.
  • Having a plan in place first is beneficial for the babysitter to know from the outset because she is relying on your timely arrival so she can leave for work at six. Informing her of your plan allows her to prioritize her time so she can put her emergency child care plan in place to cover her responsibilities in order for her to be able to leave for work on time at six.

Your last Priority is Number 3, but not a hurry because they can have your takeout order ready at any time. It is a courtesy call.

  • Numbers 1 and 2 were included as informational only, to decide the order of urgency vs importance.
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In the space of a few minutes, your priorities changed as each one was addressed. First the flat tire, then the child care, then the takeout order. In order for fulfillment of the child care and takeout order, the top priority of a plan to remedy the flat tire had to be taken care of first.


© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran

© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran

Circumstances and Obligations

The order of our priorities will be different for each one of us, depending on our life circumstances.

Family, Love

  • Some may have a spouse and children
  • Some may have no significant other and no children
  • Some may have a significant other but no children
  • Some may have children but no significant other
  • Some may be caring for aging parents or their grandchildren
  • Some may have fertility issues requiring sticking to a "special schedule!"

Employment, School

  • Some may be gainfully employed at one or more jobs,
  • Some may still be in school
  • Some may be retired
  • Some may be disabled

Social Life, Vacations

  • You may have a wide circle of friends so that you enjoy a very active social life
  • Some people sacrifice social activities so they can save up all year to go on one great annual vacation
  • For any number of reasons, the only socialization with the outside world that someone on the other side of your computer screen has every day are the people they talk to online.


  • Some may not have extra money left over after the monthly bills are paid
  • Some spend on credit and worry about paying the bills later
  • Some worry how they are going to pay the rent, mortgage, utilities or a car payment every month when nothing is left over from their paychecks.
  • Some have so many loans to pay, they are worrying how each will be paid
  • Some are homeless and are saving up for a place to live

Your circumstances (ex: financial, familial obligations, etc.), how you live your life, who is involved your life, how much time you can or want to devote to people, places and things - each of these goes into determining what your priorities will be and the order of their importance.

Time & Love

© Rachael O'Halloran

© Rachael O'Halloran

Are your priorities in order?

You should never make someone a priority who views you as an option.

-- Maya Angelou

Important vs Urgent

In order to be able to prioritize, one has to know not only what is important and what is urgent at the moment, but one must be able to determine the difference between important and urgent.

  • It is important to know where the bathrooms are located in Walmart.
  • It is urgent that I find the bathroom in Walmart because I have to go right now.

Sometimes taking your personal feelings and those of others into consideration won't win you any popularity contests because the prioritizing decision will need to be based on what is required for a solution in order to proceed.

  • The man had a heart attack in the store when he was with his wife and his mother.
  • When the ambulance came, the paramedic said only one of them could ride in the back of the ambulance with the man to go to the hospital.
  • Prioritizing who rides along, and who doesn't, will ultimately hurt someone's feelings. Because urgency was a main factor, the man's wife chose to go and concern for her mother-in-law's personal feelings must be put aside. The main priority is getting the man to a hospital with the closest kin who can make decisions and sign paperwork for him.

Determining the difference between what is important and what is urgent will help prioritize a situation.

For each of us, depending on our circumstances, there can be very wide differences between the two.

Rate The Priority

Urgent vs. Important

  • There is no clean-cut method to determine an urgent matter from an important matter because sometimes they are one and the same.
  • Sometimes an urgent matter needs attention right this minute because it is on a deadline or timetable, while an important matter can wait a few.

Urgent vs. Non-Important

  • Sometimes an urgent matter will take precedence so that all others become non-important, but it is only for the time you are dealing with the urgent matter.

Non-Urgent vs. Important

  • Sometimes an important matter is just not urgent at all and sometimes a non-urgent matter has little importance to others awaiting your attention.
  • If other important matters need your attention, prioritizing them will be the only way to be able to handle each one.
  • If it doesn't need your attention and/or if a result is not expected within the next hour, it is non-urgent.
  • List each in their order of importance, if a result is expected due to a timetable or when one outcome depends on one of the others to come to fruition.

Non-Urgent vs. Non-Important

  • If it is neither urgent or important, it can be done during leisure time.
  • Tasks performed at your leisure tend to be done more satisfactorily, so that the end result is more pleasing.


© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran

© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran

The Priority of Loved Ones

Probably the most debated topic is making time for immediate family and loved ones. We figure they will always be there, and we can see them anytime.

On the other hand, newly presented opportunities can be fleeting so we feel the need to take advantage of them as they come up. If there were ever an emergency, family members would be the Number One Priority. But in leisurely non-distressed times, family members tend to get moved down on the priority list.


1. The guys invite you to go shoot some pool at the taproom on Friday, but then you find out the whole weekend is the annual "Rack 'Em Up" pool tournament and you really want to play. So you call your girlfriend to cancel the plans you had to take her and her parents to dinner and tell her you'll do it next weekend.

2. Your parents are stopping at your home in Virginia for a couple of hours on their way to your sister's house in Florida, but you have a chance to work some badly needed overtime that is rarely offered by your company. You decide to go to work, telling your parents it might be best if they just stayed on the interstate toward Florida.

3. Your son has a soccer game but you have a business meeting with a client who looks promising to sign a contract to give you a lot of their company's business.

In each case, the choice has been between spending time with a family member or putting time toward another activity which was viewed (at the moment) to be a higher priority.

In each case, some compromise could have kept the family a Top Priority by making some schedule adjustments. But in our "I can see my family anytime" world, many choose to put family second and other things first.


© Rachael O'Halloran

© Rachael O'Halloran

Organized vs Prioritized

Many of us have some degree of clutter in our lives - things that we either don't take care of in a timely fashion, or stuff we let pile up until we must take care of them. Sometimes things get dumped on us by others because we just let it happen, we can't say "no" or we feel no one else will do it, so we figure it may as well be me.

Not everyone will have each part of their lives organized by a schedule, a list, or in folders like a filing cabinet. If you have too many responsibilities, a list will help to put them in order.

You do not have to have your life neatly organized to be able to prioritize.

Being organized is not a pre-requisite to being able to prioritize things in your life. It helps, but it is not necessary.

Part of the ability to prioritize comes from being organized. But being organized means different things to different people.

  • If you were to look at my desk, you might say "Oh, Rachael O'Halloran! How can you find anything on your desk? How will you know when your bills are due to be paid?" My organized desk may not look like your organized desk!
  • Or you can stand in the middle of your overcrowded garage that looks like pure mayhem to your neighbor's eye, (but not to you) and immediately you can lay your hands on the rose pruner he wants to borrow.

Both these examples are a type of organized confusion - the area looks like hell, but you know what most of the stuff is and how to locate it.

Methods people use to prioritize

  • They make lists - written, mental or cyber - and order them according to importance or priority.
  • They make a schedule - written, mental or cyber - but are flexible to monkey wrenches than can screw it up.
  • Those who are less organized put similar stuff in piles so they have some kind of an idea where things are. Because each pile is semi-organized by topic or placed in certain sections of the room, one will slowly come around to getting more organized. (ala organized confusion)
  • Use each day's space on your calendar or on a desk blotter in order to keep track of when bills are due to be paid, date and times of special outings, appointments of importance and reminders of things to be done a day in advance of an event.
  • Some hit the ground running and do quite well waking up in the morning with no set plan for the day (work or play, etc). Whatever problem steps up to command their time during the course of the day is what they give their undivided attention to, for as long as is needed.
  • Some mentally jog their thoughts. Some people have all their ducks in a row (a plan) and they know before they close their eyes at night what will garner their attention sometime throughout the next day. They have put their priorities in some order (mentally) but they have not scheduled specific time for each one during their day.

Learn the difference between "want" and "need" because they are not the same.

It's all about priorities


Have you noticed that your priorities are not the same as your siblings, your children, or your parents?

We all give attention to the things in our lives that matter at the moment. But it also depends on if we are sharing that responsibility with someone else.

Example: Three adult siblings share in taking care of aging parents by driving them to doctor appointments, supermarket and church. To all of three siblings, their aging parents are their Number One Priority.

They may not all approach the responsibility with the same degree of importance or give their parents' appointments priority attention in relation to other demands in their own lives.

That's because when there's more than one sibling taking turns as caregivers, one of the three can cover their parents for their transportation needs. Because only one or possibly two siblings will be active with their parents at once, there will nearly always be a third who will be a passive caregiver.

Just because one or two siblings are not present when their parents needed them, it doesn't mean they hold their parents in less esteem or that they assign less importance to their duty to them.

It just means that sharing responsibilities with other people changes the priority level for all of them and frees each of them up to dedicate time to other priorities in their lives.

The Key

Created by Rachael O'Halloran

Created by Rachael O'Halloran

Lists, Schedules & Goals

If you are not a list-maker, become one, especially if you have found (*or have been told) that you are hard-pressed to make time for a certain someone or something.

Making lists are not for the forgetful anymore. Lists prioritize our needs and responsibilities. Sometimes seeing things written down on paper (or on a computer screen) helps to determine their order of importance, especially if one result relies on the outcome of another, which may be too far down on your list and need to be rearranged in more logical steps.

Make a schedule and stick to it - at least as close as you can. Once friends and family see that you are keeping to a schedule, not only will you see less intrusions on your time, but you will be able to free up time for those you want to spend time with or for activities you never used to have time to do.

Set goals for yourself. If you go through your life performing functions that just need to be done without any realistic goal in mind, your life will remain relatively the same as far as status, excitement and substance. Setting goals helps motivate you to do well in other areas so that a particular goal can (and will be) achieved sooner. It will exceed expectations and will be accomplished with more ease than less organized methods.

Prioritizing The Demands In Your Life



























Time with Parents





Your Faith (Church, Bible study time, etc.)











Mortgage (Rent)





Car payments





Paying credit cards and other bills





Hobby #1 (ex: TV time, computer, golf, sports)





Hobby #2 (reading, writing, phone chats, bookkeeping)





Hobby #3 (time with or entertaining friends, outings)















Getting priorities straight

Good things happen when you get your priorities straight.
-- Scott Caan

Unforeseen circumstances

Sometimes all it takes is one monkey wrench in life to screw up our priorities. It could be anything.

  • A parent who had a sudden stroke where you now have to decide whether to take them into your home or arrange admission to a nursing home
  • a child who breaks both legs and requires extra help in the home while you work.
  • a husband who has suddenly lost his job
  • a wife who becomes ill with a serious disease leaving small children to be cared for by many others
  • a car that breaks down and can't be repaired

Any of these things are called unforeseen circumstances. If more than one thing happens at the same time, one must prioritize in order to be able to arrive at solutions and to keep a handle on possible chaos.


Choose your priorities

Nobody's life is ever all balanced. It's a conscious decision to choose your priorities every day.

-- Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Executive decisions

We have to face it that no matter what we do or how we handle certain things in our lives, there will always be critics.

One would hope there'd also be some pats on the back too, but negativity seems to rear its head first, especially when someone is not in agreement.

It is at these times when one must exercise their rights to make executive decisions - i.e. whatever would be the right thing FOR YOU, not them.

Even if it turns out to not be the right thing for you, it is your life and you have to live with the consequences of your decisions.

I like to use the excuse: "I made an executive decision, so live with it!"

Because I have to, so should they. If they don't want to, they can hit the road.

Understanding priorities

Sometimes things in life happen that allow us to understand our priorities very clearly. Ultimately you can see those as gifts.

-- Mariska Hargitay


Because we are all different, no one can tell us which of the listed items should be our Number One Priority.

Likewise, you should never tell anyone else what or how they should be prioritizing in their lives.

Your Number One Priority will not be the same as the Number One Priority of your best friend who is exactly the same age as you. This is because we are all at different stages in our lives. we handle crisis differently, and we prioritize differently according to the needs of the others who depend on us.

Regarding the poll question at the top of this article - If I asked you the same poll question ten years ago or even ten years from now, would your answer be the same?

More than likely, it would not.

That's because we all have other issues in our lives where we prioritize them according to their importance at that point in time.


  • Urgency over importance. Focus on what is urgent and then decide its importance. Weigh the two to assign priority levels to arrive at a conclusion involving the least amount of steps (legwork).
  • Keep your eye on getting to your end result or goal.
  • Don't let anyone shame you into doing something you don't want to do or don't have the time or resources to do.
  • Do only what you are able to do and either carry it over for another day if possible, or delegate the rest out to others.
  • Socialize whenever possible and other parts of your life will fall into place
  • Don't be afraid to make a mistake. You've made them in the past and no doubt you will make more in the future. Learn a lesson from it and move on.
  • When scheduling, allow wiggle room so you don't over-extend yourself.
  • Allow yourself some alone time; this can rejuvenate you as well as, if not better than, any power nap.

The last minute priority

Created by Rachael O'Halloran

Created by Rachael O'Halloran

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran


Suzie from Carson City on February 20, 2015:

Rachel....The "loss of my mate" so suddenly, was shocking and sad. It took a while to get my bearings so to speak. However, and not to diminish this loss....I was widowed the first time, my first husband and love of my life, father of my 2 older sons when I was 22 years old (with 2 babies) He was 27 (an auto accident)

That event altered me, my sons and our lives forever. I have carried this profoundly unbearable burden of all-consuming grief for 44 years and will forever. This pain is an actual part of me as much as my arms and legs are. It is and shall remain, unmovable.

Jim and I married in our 50's and had a pleasant life together for 12 years.

The reality is that I more or less shifted emotionally, to allow myself the time and focus to feel sadness of loss again. Perhaps I'm not able to explain it accurately, but somehow I feel I needn't explain. We live, we hurt, we love and we go on.

31 grandchildren??!! God love you. I thought my dozen were a lot....LOL

Yes, Rachel....this is my time and I want to savor every moment.......Paula

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on February 20, 2015:


Your comment was a nice surprise today when I came online.

It's been 7 months since I published this article, so I re-read it and decided to edit down the word count a little bit, finding a couple of typos to boot.

Yes, I put those words in the title on purpose - and for exactly those reasons: to bring attention to the fact that priorities will always be ever-changing at each stage of our lives.

@loss of your mate - I'm sorry for your loss and I applaud how you are moving on to the next stage of your life with new priorities.

After your initial mourning period, I suspect the subsequent stages are getting fun, especially now that you can see that you have a lot of freedoms that were otherwise on the back burner before.

I think others reading about your adjustment might be envious that they are not at the stage yet, where they can put themselves FIRST.

I agree - an empty nest is not all bad.

As a parent and grandparent, family visits can be noisy, busy with several situations going on at the same time and each one has their own agenda to cover during the visit. With 5 children (and their spouses), 31 grandchildren and their significant others, it gives prioritizing a real workout!

We moved recently where our home was the center location for visiting. Now, our closest (in distance) child and her family live about 200 miles from us. Dare I say, we are enjoying our alone time. lol

Also, to get to our home, they must travel by boat - a nice advantage for us because we can always see when someone is arriving.

As long as there is the phone, computer and visits (scheduled, I hope!), everyone is happy.

As you said, "you've done your time well." I'd say your priorities are great and the "me first" syndrome fits you perfectly! You deserve it too.

I'm so glad you "loved" this article and I appreciate your votes, tweeting and pinning it too.

Suzie from Carson City on February 20, 2015:

Rachel...I love, LOVE this wonderful hub! I especially appreciate in your title.."At This Point In Your Life." Yes, of course priorities continually change accordingly for all of us.

Retired for several years, widowed for 2 and all of my children with their own families, lives and "priorities," I finally belong to me. For the first few years, we adjust to the shock and realize that we can be learning to walk all over again.

I'm happy to say I'm doing a great job being a loner in charge of my every move.....and allowed to not move at all if I choose! The absence of pressure from schedules and strict To-Do lists is so liberating, it's difficult to describe.

Empty nest is not as bad as we're often led to believe. After all, we're free to keep in touch and visit and the love & devotion never leaves.

Simply, my priorities pretty much center around ME. Since I'm confident and at peace with having done my time well & put my all into life's responsibilities....this is even GUILT-free. Amazing!! UP++++ tweeted & pinned.

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 29, 2014:


Again, I thank you. :)

LongTimeMother from Australia on June 29, 2014:

I'm not surprised your hub is getting lots of attention, Rachael. It's a good hub. It deserves it. :)

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 28, 2014:


I never dreamed this hub would make the impression that it has. As you can see, my heart is on my sleeve when it comes to my family. My daughter-in-law will "get it" someday, but I'm sorry it was at the expense of her daughter's graduation party. She had a swell time at the beach and she will be spending 4th of July week here with me. I'm sure I'll get an earful then too. lol

Priorities are certainly different for each of us because we all have different things going on in our lives. But it is also true that priorities will always change because some things are more important "right at that moment" and then they will go back to their former status once the crisis has passed. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Also thank you for your votes.


LongTimeMother from Australia on June 28, 2014:

lol. I suspect your granddaughter will remember her graduation and the month long celebration as one of the highlights of her life. It's a shame for your daughter-in-law that she won't have a starring role in that long-lasting warm glow ... but hopefully she'll be smarter when the next graduation rolls around. :)

I'm the kind of mother who orders the extra cake and makes the party bigger. I hate to see kids disappointed and treated badly by the adults in their lives.

Mind you, I'm also the kind of person who would automatically phone the babysitter first in the example in your hub, and ask her to have her mother on standby. I'd want to give the b/sitter and her mother as much lead time as possible to accommodate the change in plans, before spending time trying to get my car fixed - not knowing how long that process could take.

Without question I always put my family first. There's always a bunch of other things to juggle at the same time, but when push comes to shove if any of my family genuinely needs my help, I'll drop everything to dedicate 100% of my time and effort to meet their needs.

I have never believed that the world revolves around me. :)

Voted up ++

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 28, 2014:


I'm glad it was helpful to you. Thank you for voting and sharing my article.

torrilynn on June 27, 2014:

I would say that my priorities in life are to be healthy, to go to school, and to keep up with my finances. I thank you for this hub it helps to put your priorities in perspective according to what you are doing and what you should be doing. voted up and shared.

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 26, 2014:


Thank you for your praise and comment.

Dianna Mendez on June 26, 2014:

I love your last quote, the photo is pretty and the saying is wise. Also, your chart is one that will help many put things into order. Great topic and well covered.

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 18, 2014:


I used to have an anal-retentive boss and everything was urgent to him. In fact, remember all those office memo pads for messages that normally come with the word "IMPORTANT" in bold print across the top? Well, he ordered them in colors from the stationary store with the word "URGENT!!!!" with 4 exclamation points after the word on fire engine RED paper to make sure we knew the message was very urgent and the paper wouldn't get lost on crowded desks.

It got to the point where nothing was urgent anymore to employees because there were no differences in each demand. "Call your mother now!" "Come to my office now!" "Make appointment with this client."

If we put urgency into every issue, pretty soon we will be ignored like the little boy who cried wolf.

Thanks for reading and commenting,


FlourishAnyway from USA on June 18, 2014:

I'm so glad you highlighted the difference between urgent and important. I used to work in a corporate situation where every freaking thing was considered both. No executive had the ability to distinguish the difference, thus leaving many people harried. Priorities, priorities.

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 15, 2014:


I'm glad it got you thinking, that was the idea. lol

Once in a while, it is good to take a look at what is important in our lives because it may not be the same things that were important a few short years ago. Life changes, responsibilities change, so priorities will change too.

Thanks for reading and commenting,


Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 15, 2014:


I agree, it is harder for those who have a lot of responsibilities - large families, more than one job, financial, etc - they will have more of a problem prioritizing than someone who doesn't have as many as responsibilities.

Thank you for reading and commenting,


Victor W. Kwok from Hawaii on June 15, 2014:

Thanks for sharing this hub. It really got me thinking, reading this.

Ann Carr from SW England on June 15, 2014:

I guess much of being able to distinguish priorities is logical but it's not always that easy, as you've pointed out so well.

We all have different criteria and viewpoints but we all have to make difficult decisions now and then.

Great advice and clear distinctions regarding a difficult subject.

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 15, 2014:


It is true that health problems impact everything else in our life and certainly changes the order of our priorities. I'm glad your health has improved and that you are on the road to recovery. I think you will always be pondering issues because a health scare, once the issue has resolved, leaves behind residual - like in a computer memory cache - you won't ever be able to stop worrying what if it happens again or how will I fulfill a certain obligation if I get sick again? You wouldn't be human if you didn't "ponder on issues." lol But at least you recognize that there could be repercussions down the line and you are considering the issues so that you will be prepared if anything should happen to upset your routine. Many people don't think past "Whew, glad I'm over that one!" and when it happens again, it is like it is the first time because they didn't consider (think) about putting things in place to help take care of their responsibilities when they had down time due to health issues.

If anything, this hub has made certain people think about what is important to them, and that was the goal.

My granddaughter has a lovely time and she will be coming here for 4th of July week to spend with me. I can't wait to see her!

Her mother, on the other hand, is still not speaking to me but she will have to get glad again because there are 3 more children she is raising and if she thinks this little stumble was a big stumble, wait until those 3 graduate and they have bigger requests.

As time goes on, kids want bigger and more expensive things for graduation and it won't be a party. One already has his sights on a request for a new car and his father showed him this article so he could get his priorities straight before his graduation in 6 years!

He said after seeing what his mom did to his sister about a party, he would skip the party and ask for a bigger ticket item because with the value of inflation, the $5000 she would spend on his party could reasonably become a $10,000 car. lol

I suspect he might be right, but he won't get the new car, I'm sure. He might get a "very used" car though.

Thanks for reading and commenting,


travmaj from australia on June 15, 2014:

It's ver difficult to prioritise - I was juggling along very nicely when I developed some medical problems. I was totally in shock, I didn't think it could happen to healthy me and I'm not good at dealing with such. My priorities to family etc had to change when I realised I had to look after my health first. All in order now but I find myself pondering on issues. Your granddaughter story touched me, I hope she has a wonderful graduation. My grandchildren are certainly tops with me and they know it. I know some wonderful young people.

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 14, 2014:


To some people, their lives revolve around money - so their jobs are most important to them, because they feel that without their job, none of the other things can fall into place.

I won't discuss my personal faith beliefs online but I do put family first and then my faith.

I have friends who will put their family commitments aside because they consider their church extra-curricular activities to be more important.

I am in very good health, but that is because I take care of myself very well in how I eat and live. So although health is important to me and without it, it would be true that I wouldn't be able to do other things as well, I guess it ranks a close tie with family.

I have 5 children, a disabled husband, and grandchildren who all claim face time so they are my priority. I wrote several examples in the article where jobs and family seem to be the biggest demands on time because that is what I hear in my own family.

That doesn't mean it is that way for all my readers, but we write what we know, and that is what happens with my children and grandchildren - family time vs work time.

As often happens with priorities, they change depending on events in our lives. I hope people are flexible enough to change their priorities as situations come up.

Thank you for reading and commenting,


Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 14, 2014:

My health has always been my priority. Your suggestions on priorities are incredible. Some people make money their priority and forget about enjoying life the simplest of ways.

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 14, 2014:

#Jodah, Thank you for reading, commenting and the vote. :)

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on June 13, 2014:

Great food for thought here Rachael. As you say, we all have different priorities, and even our own change at different times in our lives. Good hub, voted up.

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 13, 2014:


At the moment, my daughter-in-law is not talking to me citing "interference" with how she is raising her daughter, when in fact, I was very careful not to use the words "raising your daughter" in my communications. lol

I'm driving up to get Joe for 4th of July and bringing him and my granddaughter and 2 of her friends here for the week. Part of the month long graduation celebration, I told her! lol

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 13, 2014:

Wow, Rachael. It's a good thing you stepped in. I'm sure your granddaughter is still going to have ugly memories of her graduation and will place all the blame on her mom. I think her mom just screwed up royally. Your granddaughter may one day forgive her, but she'll never forget. Her friend's mom seems like a very sweet person. At least someone is making a big deal of this first milestone of many yet to come.

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 13, 2014:


Thank you for sharing. I'm sure many people follow the same idea when it comes to their bills, etc. However, priorities in personal life and how to order those priorities seems to be what young people these days have a problem putting in context.

I wrote this because my daughter-in-law decided that her oldest daughter's priorities were not important for her graduation party.

She asked to be allowed to invite ten friends to her graduation party at their home this weekend. My son, her step- father said yes, her mother said no.

They already had 40 people coming, mostly family and she felt that the ten friends would bring their parents and maybe more friends as well, making for a very crowded home and grounds.

When my step-granddaughter said her friends would probably only be stopping in because they had their own parties going on, the answer was still no.

When she said she would be making the rounds to her friends' parties with them for some part of the 6 hours duration of her party, her mother abruptly cancelled her party because she said why have a party if she was not going to be there the whole time?

My daughter-in-law shot an email off to me and of course, I couldn't resist and gave the following advice:

Graduation day is a big deal. A party is the second big deal. Inviting your friends to your party and going to your friends' parties is necessary because that is part of the celebration which occurs on many levels - at school, at home, and with friends.

If she does not have a party, you have managed to deprive her of her rights as a graduate, as a teenager, and in her social arena where she may be bullied or worse, ostracized. She will remember your actions to her dying day.

My daughter in law wrote back that she needs to learn how to prioritize.

I wrote back that my daughter-in-law needs to prioritize as well - and that means to not run the whole show for the party. She is not the guest of honor, her daughter is.

She should allow each person their own space, and stop trying to rule the roost as to who has to stay and how long.

I told her if she made the graduation party her number one priority, then she missed the point of her daughter's great accomplishment of graduating from high school. Because her daughter comes first, her graduation ceremonies comes next and her daughter's wishes for HER party should be in there somewhere.

Part of GIVING a party is that you are GIVING it to her. If you GIVE something, it is no longer yours. It was HER party.

This email came from my step-granddaughter around dinner time, before the party last night.

Dear Gran,

Thanks for trying to set my mom straight about priorities. She still refuses to allow me to have a graduation party because she cancelled all the invitations and doesn't want to make all those phone calls again. Unlike her, my head is on straight and my priorities are in order. It is my graduation and it only happens to me once. I was invited to my friend Ashley's house to join her party and her mother ordered a second graduation cake with my name on it. How cool is that! Then Dad said yes and Mom said she didn't care when I asked permission to go with their family to Virginia Beach until Wednesday. I promised to call home every day, which I will. Thanks to you, I am making happy memories to remember my graduation celebrations forever. Thanks for allowing me to make my own memories. I'll text you after the party is over. I love you and wish you were here.

Then, I copy pasted the whole thing in an email and sent it to my daughter-in-law and told her she had 3 more children who will be graduating from high school in the next ten years. She better get the stick out of her ass by then so those kids have nice memories of their graduation day.

Thanks for reading,


Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 13, 2014:

Great advice and food for thought, Rachael. I'm a pretty organized person, although you wouldn't know it by looking at my desk. Funny, when I worked outside the home I only had one pile on my desk: what to start the next day with; I always completed a day's work in one day.

As far as knowing when bills are due, I keep them in a nook of my desk (I still insist on paper bills) in due date order. I consult the pile each day and pay them in time to allow for snail mail (yes, I still write checks and use stamps). For those bills that come out of my account automatically, I record them in my checkbook all at once. I don't ever want to get caught thinking I have more money in my account than I really do.

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 13, 2014:


The last quote is what I used to tell my kids when they were younger and now that they are adults - they tell their children the same thing. It is funny to hear them repeat my words. I thought it was appropriate to include it here, given the subject matter of this article. :)

Thank you for reading and commenting,


Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 13, 2014:

Your last quote is practically eye-opening. Your article helps us learn to figure out our priorities, which no-one can do for us. Thank you for underscoring our need to prioritize.

Rachael O'Halloran (author) from United States on June 13, 2014:


It is true that we should put ourselves first. The point of posing the various scenarios in this article was that sometimes the "me first" priority needs to co-occupy the same space with another priority. Example: spouse or children. Thanks for weeding through my possibly overly-detailed article.

You have a great weekend too - it's been raining almost non-stop here for the last three days :(


Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 13, 2014:

I'll make this short although I could ramble on for quite some first priority must always be myself. If I don't take care of me first I won't be worth a damn to anyone else. :) Great topic...and I wish you a wonderful weekend.

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