For a moment when work isn’t so demanding. For an hour when the tween stops putting up full resistance to simple requests for help. For a day when negotiating the family schedule doesn’t take high-tech gadgets, extensive three-way discussion, and caving on core values as to what, exactly, constitutes a good meal. For a week when the to do list actually grows shorter.
Then, I think, when one of those miracles happens, I will have time. Time to enjoy my daughter’s fast-dwindling childhood. Time to travel. Time to read. Time to do everything that I’m not doing now because I have to do other things that other people have asked or paid me to do. But most of all, I think that when one of those miracles happens, then I will have time to write.
I’ve been an idiot. Waiting will not bring any of that to pass.
Life is a roller coaster. My life track is being formed in front of me one second before I careen onto it. I am always one track-second away from the final crash. And that, my dear fellow writers, is the only lull that our delicate beings ever encounter with absolute certainty. That lull does not bring us any closer to doing all the things that we are not making time for now.
A close family member recently experienced that final crash. That jarring tragedy proved without a doubt that death does not bring satisfying closure or tidy completion. Just a passing and a painful pileup of life debris left behind for the survivors. Going through that debris brought me face to face with the inevitability of the daily undone–the cumulative consequences of what an individual chooses to do, and not to do, every hour of the day.
In the aftermath, I have been facing down a life-altering truth. My entire existence has been built on rewarding myself with time to do what I love only after all the work is done. And, after having been raised to be responsible and to believe that hard work will lead to a payoff (someday), I have signed on for far more work than I can ever finish. If I keep on this path—waiting until the responsibilities are all met before there is freedom to do what I enjoy—then that huge mess, the weight of the undone, will hold all the fun. All the joy.
That means that the way to live is to make the time, not wait for it.
I am writing this blog as a means of coming clean, and of having others hear my intentions, and to keep me honest. I am about to alter my life. [Read more…]