The art of doing less in order to do more…

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As I turn over the odometer once again, I find myself more introspective than in the past. One reason for this is a belated recognition that the fifties are galloping by. This begs the question: am I doing what I want to with my life? Sub question: what are my priorities for the remaining years?

To be honest, I’m not one for personal reflection. Addressing these questions isn’t something I find a pleasant way to pass the time. No, I’m all about action, which is probably why these intrusive internal alerts have me rather bewildered. It doesn’t help matters to realize addressing my priorities at this juncture is pretty crucial for getting the most satisfaction out of life. Yes on more satisfaction. Not too sure about how to make it happen.

It always comes down to time. Where can we buy more time? I think it’s the only thing not for sale on the Internet. While making do with the amount of “useable” time allotted in the average day, I am at least making a show of assessing the “must dos” and weeding out the “not necessaries.” So far, the must dos include writing (finishing the 3rd Madeline adventure, posting my blog), taking care of my elderly mother, taking care of my husband, home and cat, exercising (karate, walks, and working out), being there for the rest of my family and my friends.

It almost works out on paper, but what I haven’t included are all the niggling little things that crop up on a daily basis and have a way of taking precedence. These are the deal breakers.

As I have come to realize, good intentions stand little chance against Life itself. In other words, in order for me to spend my life doing what I want—and writing was at the top of my list for a reason—I must change the essence of myself. This is a daunting prospect. I’m multi-tasking over-achiever for a reason: I can’t stand the thought of not taking care of every little thing that passes itself off as critical or somehow beneficial.

In an attempt to thread the needle in the haystack, I’m trying to steer myself solely toward tasks that fall under “family, writing, home, friends, and fitness.” So far, in the few short hours of this brave new year, I have only been sidetracked five times: assisting with travel plans (which technically falls under “family”), cleaning cat barf off the new carpet (home), sorting out dinner plans (friends), taking a birthday walk on the beach (fitness), making appointments for my mother (family).

Happily, if this passes as a blog post, I’ve accomplished one thing in the writing column. Once it is posted—will I jinx it by mentioning it?—it’s on to the book!

But have I really put any fundamental changes in place? No. I’ve merely slashed my way through another day. Is there any hope writing will share equal ground with all the necessities that make life more enjoyable?

I know I’m hardly alone in this quandary. There is not enough time in our busy days, in our busy lives. When I take an honest, hard look at my priorities, I find it difficult to elevate my desire to write with the required regularity to the “must do” category. Though I’m not enough of a saleswoman to convince myself the world needs another book by me, I know the craving I have to create characters and plop them down in a world of my making is something essential to my being.

New year, new me? Doubtful. But maybe I can find a way to reduce the needless timewasters and eke out more writing time. No wonder people tend to get grumpy as they get older—they’re running out of time to fulfill their desires and they know it! Fulfilling my selfish longing is all up to me. Can I do it? Wish me luck!

Until next time,

Cynthia

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