I read an interview with a famous writer (unfortunately, I can't remember her name and I already took the magazine back to the library) who was asked how she gets so much writing done, and she answered, "Well, I have all day." I chuckled when I read this, thinking it was both clever and true, but as the days pass and I'm not getting much writing done, those five words have lodged somewhere in my subconscious, pricking and prodding in a very uncomfortable way, and my self-flagellation begins.
"You have all day too," that nasty, snickering voice taunts. "Why aren't you accomplishing very much?" I try to answer back, feebly of course, "Well, I have a four year old at home, and meals to make, a house to maintain, friends to call and e-mail, Christmas cards to make, and about a million other things to take care of." I know my excuses are valid ones, but they still feel like excuses, and not like real reasons.
It all comes back to time and how I schedule it. I know that I can say no more often. I can resist pressure to attend parties and events, and to stop volunteering for more things to do. I think in a way I've been punishing myself for quitting my part-time job by taking on more and more things, proving to myself and others that I am effective and busy even though I'm at home.
I'm not sure who is asking me to prove anything (well, I am sure, and the answer is no one) or why I feel I have to work so hard to impress myself. I suppose the answer lies in my own value assessment. I'm tired of rubbing up against this painful area again and again in my life. We all have these things that run deep, all the way back into our childhoods, and they grip us in their fierce claws and drive so much of what we do.
I hate taking commands from my subconscious and not being aware of what I'm actually doing. Talking to friends sometimes provides my "aha!" moment, or writing in my private, uncensored journal, or often putting these thoughts into my blog does the trick. I'm on a quest to make as much of my subconscious conscious, so that I'm not shooting myself in the foot for long periods of time without realizing what I'm doing.
I want to balance my driving need to perform with my validity to simply exist in the world. I want to see time spent with my kids and my husband and my friends and family as important and not an impediment to writing or doing something else. I don't want to rush through life, producing a lot of busywork but neglecting to enjoy anything I'm participating in. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed as much as it is designed to create some kind of legacy. I may have all day, but I must choose wisely, every single day, how I spend those precious twenty-four hours.