Time is a concept we all juggle with, fight against, and rue when it runs out.
In writing and in life, I often find I’m trying to find that unknown quantity; extra time. Time is a precious commodity none of us can ever figure out how to master.
When Time Goes Too Fast
Maybe I’m having my mid-life crisis but being in my 40s makes me face that awkward part of life. You know, where you’ve lived for quite a while but you hope you’ve still got many years to come.
The death of my mum has made me think about how time slips past rapidly. You tell yourself when you know a loved one is dying that you will do many things before they die: take them to places they’ve always wanted to go, tell them what’s been hidden in your heart, spend more time together, make new memories you can savour once they are gone…
Death comes sooner than you think. Time speeds it along and it feels like little has been achieved. Time has beaten us once again. Regrets flood in and the guilt at not finding time threatens to overwhelm you in a tidal wave of grief.
Time will always go too fast when we want more of it. There’s no way to avoid that.
If we look back on our lives with darker tinged glasses than the usual rosy specs, we will always regret lost time.
I choose to try to see every second as valuable because I lived, breathed, loved and just ‘was’ for every single moment.
When Time Is Too Slow
Do you remember as a child wanting your birthdays and Christmas to happen right now? Waiting for them felt like eternity.
You would ask your parents how many days there were left, even tick them off the calendar, and then the day would come.
It would pass by, almost in a blur.
The anticipation can be better than what we anticipate. As an adult I’ve looked forward to things only to find that the excitement in the lead-up was better than the actual event. I am learning to enjoy the days before.
When life is hard, time is slow. When you’re ill, experiencing troubles, or watching those you love suffer, time drags along. Each painful minute feels like it’s been protracted into excruciating hours.
Time is the enemy of the one who wants that part of their life to be over.
The Past and Regrets
Sinatra, my regrets sometimes seem like I have more than ‘too few to mention’. The regret mill is a vicious vehicle that gathers traction on the days when you’re having a full-on pity party. I’ve been there and thoroughly got on my own nerves.
I used to have my head in the past. I was stuck solid and unable to see my present, let alone a future. I needed therapy for it.
Every error and bad choice made in my past rendered me frozen. I am my own worst critic.
I started writing when I was 40. I should have been celebrating how I was finally doing what I now know I had wanted to do since I was a child. That bitchy regrets stream of consciousness would not let me have my moment.
I told myself I was stupid for wasting time, doing crappy jobs, giving my time to people who didn’t care, and letting myself down.
I stopped and had a word with myself. To start something new at 40 is freaking amazing. How many people are brave enough to turn away from a career and pursue their dream? I am fortunate to have a loving husband who supports my writing job in many ways.
This is my time.
I don’t believe the road we tread is carefully mapped out. We make our choices and go where that takes us. I do believe though that we are meant to be doing certain things.
I look at my husband and it is clear that with his skills, compassion, knowledge, and willing heart that he was always meant to be a doctor.
I think I was always meant to be a writer. I got lost along the way.
I know I’m potentially setting myself up here for someone either telling me I’m a crap writer and it’s not true, or that I’m some kind of strange hippy freak.
I’m not super-duper spiritual. I just have a feeling in my bones that I am a writer. It is what it is and I’m bloody glad I finally got here!
The funny thing is that we moan about how we never have time but can be adept in wasting it. Go on, ‘fess up. You’ve spent hours doing anything but what you’re supposed to do.
Fellow writers, procrastination is your favourite thing you don’t want to do, but do.
Left to my own devices I could be a procrastination queen. I have an inner sloth within me.
I could create a Lisa-shaped dent in the sofa, cane a box set, broken by a cheeky nap, with no problems. If I gave in to my lazy git alter ego I would never write or blog.
Sometimes lazy git wins. I like that she occasionally does. Time is not always wasted if we’re being lazy.
Breaks, rests, and holidays are good things. No one is working to full effect if they’re constantly working.
Some writers have a guilt that goes beyond the Catholic about taking a rest. They tell us we must write every day. It is the law.
If we don’t, our heads explode because of too many unreleased ideas, our fingertips shrivel from inactivity, and we go to Writers’ Purgatory.
Having time out isn’t always wasting time. I always feel a little fresher and clearer for having a break. My best ideas come when I’m ‘wasting time’. Hardly wasted then, is it?
Time to Just Do It
So now is time to get this novel finished and write the next three. Not so long ago I wondered if I had a novel to write. Now I am plotting a series. Time-willing that will happen and my work will be out there for you all to see that I valued time.
I am embracing every writing moment I have. I did not have this in the past. Now is my time. Let it be yours too.