In the last few weeks, I've talked to a number of friends having the "If only" blues.
I'd write that novel if ...
I had more time, if I weren't working two jobs, if I weren't over the hill ...
and if ...
I had enough money to stop working and just write.
Everybody out there - if these laments strike a chord with you, do us all a favor and go grab a piece of paper and a pen.
Write this down right now and then once a day until the concept sinks in:
"I have all the time in the world." That's it. Einstein said it - time is a relative concept (my paraphrase). You're probably thinking right now - she doesn't understand *my* life, or she wouldn't be so glib about time.
OK - if you don't beieve me, here's another assignment - put together a spreadsheet of your available hours for the next two weeks. Figure out when you get up, how long it takes to rally with a cup of coffee, and then write that time down. Next, estimate when you're going to hit the sack every night - allow an hour or two before bed to organize yourself, the kids, whatever. Then that hour is your latest opportunity to do all the things you want to do.
Now - plug in all the stuff you *have* to do for the next two weeks - work, family commitments, etc. - don't skimp - even allow yourself some padded time for changes in plans. Then look at what's left. I promise you won't believe how many hours are left. What is taking up all those hours?
I don't know about you, but I'm guilty of too much mindless television, way too much sitting and staring, and, oh yeah, solitaire on my Iphone.
You get the idea. There will be a heck of a lot of hours staring at you after you plug in all your "have-to's."
Next, write down "I have all the money I need." Repeat daily until you believe it.
I'm a little like Frank Sinatra. Over the years, I've been "up and down, over and out," etc., etc. What I've noticed about my financial highs and lows is that when I was making decent money, my needs seemed to expand to suck it all up. When I was living on the edge and barely squeaking by, I managed to accordion in my spendthrift urges.
I guess the essential question we all periodically have ask ourselves is: How much do I really need to be happy? "Jimmy Buffet says it pretty well for me in his lyrics - "I'm just glad I don't live in a trailer."
To be honest, I wish I never had to work again and could spend my days daydreaming and banging out novels. However, I've compromised with part-time work with low-level responsibilities.
I've re-adjusted my previous list of perceived needs downward. I haven't bought a new car since the early '90s, and if I can't find what I need in a thrift shop, I don't buy it.
The bottom line here is how much do you want whatever it is you believe you can't have because of a lack of time and/or money? Do you want it enough to "blow up the TV and eat a lot of peaches"? (Thank you, John Prine) Something to think about.