I’ve always believed this quote. This is not your practice life. Seize the day. Treasure this one wild and precious life.
But this week I’ve changed my mind…in a way. Maybe ‘practice’ or ‘training’ isn’t such a bad way to see life.
This all started because I’ve got this massive dilemma going on, which is that I love my writing. I want to spend so much time doing it. And I’ve also got two little kids, and I love being with them and know that my time with them is not only so important but so precious. The writing will be there when the kids are a bit older and don’t need me so much…but if I don’t begin to nurture my writing… And so the Catch 22.
I suppose this must be pretty common. We’ve got stuff we deeply need to do. Stuff that feeds our souls. And we’ve got lots of other stuff in our lives that we can’t just push aside and is also pretty important.
So a few weeks ago I did a massive rehaul of how I’m spending my time. I was searching for pockets of time that I could find to write. And I realised, on many days my schedule with the kids was so full, the only way I was going to fit some writing time in, was first thing in the morning. Which, wow, means Early o’clock.
I’ve tried this in the past and what usually happens is that I get up early once or twice and it’s hard, and of course I don’t get as much done as I was hoping, and then I get frustrated. The voice in my head says things like, “I got up at 5.30am and this is all I got done!!” And then I give up.
Well a very wise friend of mine suggested I set my alarm for just a half hour earlier and not worry so much if I don’t get much done at first. “You’re training yourself,” he told me.
Wow, training…right! I hadn’t thought of it like that before.
The thing about ‘Training’ is, it comes with a certain mindset – you don’t expect to get it right the first time. You expect to work a little to get where you want to be. So instead of setting a massive goal and then getting frustrated when I didn’t achieve it in the first few tries, I have been setting my alarm for a half hour/forty-five minutes earlier for the last two weeks… And low and behold it has worked. I’m not great about being able to achieve much in that time…but now that I’m used to getting up, I’m ready to take the next step. Maybe I won’t finish a whole chapter of my novel each morning, but I can start journal writing, or brain-storming a bit… Just the next step…
The point is, I’m building up to it.
I’m working at it.
And because I realised it’s a process of ‘training’, I know that it will seem really hard at first, but that if I keep working at it, it will eventually begin to feel easier.
So I think I’m going to start thinking of a lot of areas of my life in terms of training. Not only for writing…or exercise…or meditation. But patience. Kindness. All kinds of things.
I’m training in Life, and if I don’t get it totally right one day, it’s not a disaster.
It’s not FAILURE…because I’m TRAINING.