We’re always chasing the bigger and better prize — more freedom, more joy, more money, more toys. Nothing wrong with that. That is, unless we miss the more we’re gaining along the way.
When I tell people I take Fridays off of work to write, they look at me sideways and seem to question why in the world I would do that. I’m not always guaranteed compensation for it, and that seems to worry them. How in the world am I surviving without working a 5 day work week, they seem to wonder?
I’m not independently wealthy and could surely use a bigger pay check. But for me, it’s about so much more than that. About 20 years ago, when I had my first child, I dreamt of staying home and writing. And I made a half-hearted attempt to achieve it. But then reality set in.
I had my dreams but as time passed, I also had my responsibilities, two little mouths to feed and very little money. So I decided to do what was safe. I worked part-time while going to school. And kept going and going and going until I couldn’t go anymore. I ended up with a doctorate in psychology.
I regret very few things because it hasn’t served me well. I don’t regret going to school or following my calling. Yet, I do believe we are built for more than just one pursuit and I have to say, I do wish I didn’t put my writing aside altogether. Yes, I had crazy busy times. At my busiest, routines consisted of going from class, to part-time job one, to part-time job two, practicum, to coming home and stirring pots and wiping little faces, and at the end of the night, being exhausted to the point that I sometimes felt nauseous.
Unfortunately, at the time, I felt I had to choose either work and education or writing. I couldn’t do it all nor should any of us try, but I wish I knew more about balance. For instance, I ask myself what joy I would have had if I stole away to write for just a handful of minutes after the girls fell asleep or before I did homework.
These days, I’ve decided to pursue that long-held fantasy once again, and at times, frustration creeps up because I’m not there yet, writing full time. But that’s sad, because in the mean time, I almost failed to realize that having even one day that I AM pursuing exactly what I’d like to is a tremendous privilege. I am essentially doing what I dreamed of doing many years ago, maybe not in the exact capacity but I am doing it as much as I’m able to right now.
It caused me to realize that I have to start focusing on what’s right in front of me and appreciate it instead of looking miles down the road to something I can’t even see yet. Otherwise, what’s the point of doing any of it at all?