I’m given to bouts of introspection and analysis, examining some bit of my life or how I’m doing something. Usually these last a few hours, or maybe a day or two. Occasionally, they go longer.
The day or two I took off of writing to recharge my batteries turned into almost three weeks worth of electronic vacation while I considered nearly every aspect of my life. Hope no one’s missed me.
In that three weeks, I’ve spent a fair bit of time with my kids, switched back to day shift, been late once for work, gotten a lot of stuff done around the house, and spent a great deal of time thinking about all of the activities that make up my life and what place they should be occupying.
No, I’m not selling all of my worldly possessions and moving to a commune or a Buddhist monastery (although though I think both would be interesting experiences, if in different ways), or contemplating any major life changes at the moment. I don’t need a midlife crisis, really. But I’ve made some decisions about how I pursue certain goals, and how many of them I’m pursuing at any given time in favour of as much time with my kids as I can possibly get in whatever activities they’re willing to participate in.
I like to think I’m a fairly involved dad, but at the same time I feel like it’s never enough. How often do you stop and say, “Why am I doing this right now? What would be a better way to spend my time?” I’ve been doing that a lot lately, and I find that while I profess to be all about family, there are times when mine is around and I’m doing something by myself that doesn’t involve any of them.
This is not what I want.
So, more geocaching, more karate, more anime, more audio work and podcasting, more video games, more movie making, more football, more paintball, and more of whatever other things I can drag them away from the computer with (that includes my trying to become a pro gamer son). Okay, more shared housework and chores, too—stuff’s gotta get done, after all.
But also probably less writing and related activities. I’ve written before that suffering for your art is not a bad thing, but making other people suffer for your art just makes you a jerk (or perhaps some other word that rhymes with grass mole). Things that are solely for me can now only be done when they aren’t around or are sleeping (because it’s my night off and I’m on nights).
Not as bad as you might think, though. I have breaks at work, days off when they’re in school, commuting time (I can dictate), and a few other odd moments here and there. I’ll still get things done in a creative vein, but I’m not going to be firing on all cylinders on everything at once. Writing goals wiped clean on a word count basis. The goal is now to finish whatever project is on the top of the list.
There is now a top secret list of the order of priorities for my own creative work. Gone are the days of working on five or six things at once. I’m going to try one at a time for a while, which is going to be really tough for me, but will probably be good for me too. Blog posts go on a separate list. Yup, more of those than there have been in the last month or so.
My new word: focus.
Focus, grasshopper, you need focus.
Be well everyone.by