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Saturday, April 21, 2012

What do you do when you know you're running out of time?

I just downloaded to my Kindle free of charge 30 or 40 of the classics that I've never read, or would like to read again. Yet, I know there's probably no way I'll ever read all those books. Oh, I could if I put my mind to it. But blending reading the classics with reading contemporary books, blogging, writing my own books...well, it just isn't going to happen. I'm 65 years old and who knows how much more time I have left. I'm in excellent health, really, for my age. I can see myself living another 30 or so years. That's a lot of time. But it's nothing like having 60 or 70 years ahead of you, as I once did. You just cannot make up for lost time; at least, I can't, not with all I have and want to do.

Fortunately, I have a lot of work to finish that's in various stages of completion. But I also have the nagging desire to write new books. I do have a few stories floating around in my head. How to get it done? What am I to do?

I have a three year-old-grandson I'm raising. He can't be left unattended. Even when he's older and, until he's an adult, he can't be left unattended for very long. You can never stop being vigilant in caring for your children. That comes before everything else. So I have to squeeze in all this other stuff around caring for my grandson. It's hard to do. But I must do it. Somehow I must find a way.

Which brings me to thinking about those of you in high school, or even college. You have a lot of time left, but you really don't. The necessities of living will rob you of much of your time. It's a rare person who can attain their dreams at a young age. That's especially hard for writers. (I've discussed this in other posts.) So, what are you to do? Most of us live our lives without much planning or looking ahead. We tend to live for the moment. Carpe diem. And there's nothing wrong with that. Unless you can somehow find the financial means to write fulltime for a few years until you can become financially self-sufficent writing (and that's hard to do), you'll have to squeeze your reading and writing in around your living for the day. In other words, part of your living for the day must incorporate reading and writing. If you don't, it'll all evaporate over time. It's a tough challenge. Only a few can succeed at it. Part of carpe diem is "do it now."

But, I also believe that do it now (writing) can wait until your formal education is completed. If you want to experiment with writing while in high school or college, that's fine. Experiment. But put your education first. Finish that part of your life first.

9 comments:

Jeff Hargett said...

Time passes faster with each year it seems. There are so many things to shuffle, prioritize, re-prioritize, and then shuffle again when life shoves new ones in your way.

Seize the moment. Make now most important. Now will never come again.

Lynda R Young said...

I stopped writing so I could concentrate on my education. I regretted it big time because writing is my first passion and I found it really difficult to get back into it. If I could do it again I wouldn't have stopped writing altogether. I would've simply cut it back a bit.

Rachna Chhabria said...

It is indeed difficult to balance everything in life. We have to prioritize and try to limit our other activities so that we can find time to write.

Tanya Reimer said...

So, I set things up to get your posts sent to my phone, so imagine this-- I'm lazying in bed, reading your post, lost in the depth of it. You said a lot with this short post and it all hit home.

Let me set the scene.
Recently, we had to clean up my dad's video game collection. Hundreds of games. Games we bought with him with a promise to play with him. Games he wanted to play while he retired, many games he said he'd play next month... and so on. Each one, when I look at them feels like a kick in the gut. There is no way, any one person could play all those games in any life time, forget one whose life is cut short like his.

But my dad always lived with the motto, "I'll do it in a month." His months ran out and it was still close to his last words.

And so, I talked with my brother last month and he was struggling with this-- "It's not fair he never got to do these things he dreamed of doing". My response was that he was happy putting these things off. Always, he was happy.

He thought about this. This month he's come to this conclusion: "I don't care anymore about the unimportant things. Those things that I can do next month, they aren't what matter. Raising us was more important than those silly dreams. This is how I want to live, putting the things that can wait off until tomorrow so I can be happy today."

Down load your books and read the ones that tempt you (Even if you read 2 a year, that's 60 books!) Write while you can, but at the end of the day, it's the time with your grandson that really matters in his life, and that will really push you to live yours.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Richard .. you have an amazing attitude and I'm so pleased your grandson is in such wonderful company - he needs it, I understand, however you will do all that you can for him.

That said - you need to remember you too .. and start concentrating and doing a few of those things you would really love to do and while you still can. Possibly easier now the little one is still reasonably young ..

Good luck and enjoy both sides of life .. Cheers Hilary

Connie Haskell said...

Above all else, know that the rich legacy you're leaving in that little guy will go so much farther to affect mankind positively than any other one thing that we do here on earth. Not to say that our projects and inspirations are not important, but what an awesome gift to be given a "live" blank slate on which to leave our experiences, dreams, hopes and values...take care!

Connie Haskell said...

Above all else, know that the rich legacy you're leaving in that little guy will go so much farther to affect mankind positively than any other one thing that we do here on earth. Not to say that our projects and inspirations are not important, but what an awesome gift to be given a "live" blank slate on which to leave our experiences, dreams, hopes and values...take care!

Talli Roland said...

It's very hard to balance everything, isn't it? Right now, I'm at a stage in my life where I do have time to write. I'm trying to make the most of it!

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Hi, Richard, I thanks for commenting on my blog. I left a reply on it for you.

Meanwhile, I think you've probably hit a good balance: raising a grandson while finishing books and starting new ones. You are probably going to live a lot longer than you think, and you have a chance to turn your grandson onto the thrill of good books.

As for the classics: Oh, go ahead and take a peek. They're classics for a reason. A few years ago, I read Don Quixote for the first time, purely as part of research for a story I was writing that made reference to the book. Well, I sat in the kitchen several mornings laughing out loud while my husband asked me what was so funny!