I had something terrible happen.
I hit forty.
I’m not really sure how it happened, one day I was thirteen and in my blue room listening to music and reading, and then I blinked and I was in college, and then I blinked again and was forty.
I’d wanted to be a writer through all those blinks, but the actual writing part generally fell at the end of the long list of to dos for the day. I said would start tomorrow or after X, I would get serious about writing.
There was always another X.
I turned forty and had (warning: about to be crude) a “shit or get off the pot” moment. Was I going to be a reader or a writer? Was I willing to truly commit to being a writer. Which meant writing each day and completing projects. It meant taking realistic stock of my perishable skills.
Or would I just lose myself in books and daydream stories?
There was nothing wrong with either path. It was a matter of how did I want to spend my time. Before I know it, heck I might even be 80.
But I didn’t want to be stuck at the same crossroads. I was walking down one path.
Taking stock, I dabbled in MANY things. I painted, I sketched, I crafted, I wrote, I made jewelry, I read, I worked out, I had a day job and I was starting a family. Heck, I’m tired just listing it all.
How much of that could really fit in a day? (assuming I need to sleep, which I love doing)
The second factor was, well, I wasn’t happy being okay at stuff. I wanted to be good. I didn’t want a pat on the head for trying, but actually have people be even slightly impressed.
No pressure, right?
So I decided to trim back what I did.
I packed it all away: the jewelry making supplies, the craft projects and ideas, the painting, the sketching, the drawing materials. They all went into boxes in my closet.
That left: family, job, writing, reading and working out.
I was going to commit to writing.
My hubby and I had the discussion of perishable skills (which always makes me think of fruit). He was a linguist in the military. If he did not practice the extra languages, the words would not come as easily and his comprehension went away. One had to practice to keep them up.
So it is with writing skills. And not that I had mad writing skillz, but I needed to refresh my fruit cup.
Now I have a five year plan to actually finish some of the projects that are languishing in my computer (I actually picture them around a virtual pool trading war stories maybe eating fruit).
I’m refreshing my fruit cup, with classes, critique groups, writing immersions, craft books, and writing at least thirty minutes each day.
What do you prioritize at the top of your list each day? How do you fill your fruit cup?
2 thoughts on “Five Year Plan”
Ah, what a good question. Like the demonstration of the jar and a pile of sand, pebbles and rocks. If you put the sand (minor stuff) in first, there isn’t much room left for the rocks.
So the rocks in my life…Family comes first, of course, but with my youngest a senior in high school, that no longer requires heaps of time. I no longer have the, “I don’t really want to play little people again, but if I don’t, someday I’ll regret it…” And by the way, if you play little people for that reason, and don’t enjoy it,when you look back it doesn’t leave happy memories.
What I fail at, frequently, is remembering to cherish my husband as another rock in the jar. We spent the last 20 years putting the kids first, and now forget how to put each other first. Gotta work on that!
I’m pretty good at NOT filling my time with housework 🙂 and if you can afford it, I highly recommend “supporting the local economy” and hiring someone to clean toilets and wash sheets every couple of weeks. Works wonders on the guilt for not keeping a clean home, and on the marriage for not wishing the hubby would contribute more.
Anyway, like you, writing has become a priority for me, though it took me quite a few more years to figure it out. I’m in awe of you!!!
I took Covey clases in the late 90’s and they did that jar demo in class. It was eye opening. I think the hard part is understanding was is and is not ‘sand’ or ‘water’.
I also agree on the house cleaning. It’s as low as I can safely put it on my priority list and not have the house condemned. 🙂
Glad we are on this journey together.