Taking Time

One of the most surprisingly difficult things to do, is know when you need to take time. Whether it be for yourself, for someone else, or for something that you’re passionate about. It is so incredibly easy to get tangled up in one thing or another and then to be startled to find that something else needs your attention to. Workaholics know this concept well. They get so caught up in the work they do that their friends or family have to pry them away to get some time with them. That or they themselves wind up crashing and realizing they haven’t taken any time for themselves. With that being said though, how do you know when you should take some time, and how much time do you need?

I myself have just recently come into some time. I previously had not that much, and now I have alotgether far too much so I have decided to dedicate it to various things I deem important. Here is that catch though, when you have that much time, it becomes so easy to push things back and put more focus on other things. Prioritizing becomes strained and somewhat difficult while procrastinating incidentally becomes a touch easier. You can argue that having so much extra time is a good thing because you have more itme to spend on one thing. Yet you can also argue that with less time, when you start a project there is more urgency to accomplish it within the time you have. Both those aspects are true. Therein lies the issue for a lot of people both my age and in my situation. Where does the time go, and how do we make the absolute most of it?

I don’t think there is necessarily a perfect formula for this. I do at the same time however feel that to a certain degree it is almost always a matter of time plus work plus effort equals results. Yet the variances in each of those individual aspects is what tends to take my focus. Time while being a linear construct is also a currency. How much you have is finite, but how you spend it is entirely up to you. How much time should I spend, working however hard, on whichever project. Then after that how much time is left over for me, or the ones that I love? Then I don’t have an answer, or pondering the solution takes too much time away from the aforementioned task so it winds up unfulfilled. Leading to an unchecked item on the days to do list.

I would be remiss to say that the problem I am addressing isn’t somewhat of a first world problem yet at the same time it is one that can become debilitating to an extent. With a massive desire to accomplish things and then concern over which things are the most important to accomplish it becomes less about taking time for yourself and more about making sure you are putting time on the right thing. Which then becomes a question of what is the right thing to put your time on. Is it education, love, making money, achieving your dreams, making friends, or is it something entirely different. Can it be all of the above while still existing within the realm of possible? Is it foolish to think one can have it all? If you can, what level of sacrifice does it require? Does that sacrifice leave you in a better or worse place than before? How can you tell?

All of these questions become trivial when faced with the larger question of what makes you happy. Which in the end is the thing you should focus on, and is the only way that I have found it possible to try and keep the time I need to spend focused on the important things. It can become overwhelming, and it will always be uncertain. Another beautiful thing about the concept of “growing up” It is almost entirely and always, uncertain. Just remember to give some of that time to your loved ones, friends and family. Then spend the rest on making yourself happy, and hope that its enough. You just might achieve your dreams along the way, the trick I think, is to not give up and stay focussed.

Also, remember that in the wake of all this worldly chaos, tell the people you care about that you love them and try and be kind to one another. The world can always use more kindness.

 

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When It’s The End?

How do you know when it’s time to move on? Is it possible to know, or do you just have to hope.

Time and time again we find ourselves in the position of asking this same question; Is this over? This question is sometimes brought about organically. Then other times we feel pushed to ask it, or inclined to desire for an answer one way or another. Of course, it is entirely possible to enjoy something from its conception through to its completion without at any point pondering that conclusive query. However, that isn’t what this conversation is about. This question applies to almost everything. Relationships, careers, friendships, social functions you didn’t even want to attend in the first place. There is a myriad of reasons. The point though, is how do you know when its over?

Is there an amount of time that you dedicate specifically? Is it until you achieve something specific? Do you ride it out until you’re miserable and can’t tell whether or not its you or them? It’s probably a mix of all of those, as well as others. I think this concept applies very directly to writing a story. Lets say you felt inspired and wrote something wonderful. It is well within human instinct to try and make it more than maybe what it was meant to be. In that case you add more, and then more. Until the story you had once perceived as beautiful has overstayed its welcome.

Perhaps you added too many chapters. Broke the story into too many different sections and you lost your direction. Alternatively it could be the characters. Their purpose was muddied and now you don’t recognize them as the ones you discovered in the beginning. How does one even start to correct that? How do you find its perfect ending? More to the point, how do you prevent yourself from forcing it past its natural conclusion to begin with? I suppose that nobody has the correct answer to a question this huge and theoretical. Which in the end is probably what makes life so interesting.

There really is no way to properly mitigate this scenario. Things will start, and will go along as they are meant to until ultimately as everything does, it stops. It is the reality of all things and in that there is comfort. The same way that you can rely on your Netflix to cut you off halfway through a satisfying binge session and ask “Are you still watching?”.

The best we can do is to remain open to possibilities of adventure. Pursue the things we desire and hope that when the story has run its course we’re able to move on seamlessly to a new chapter. Without forcing the narrative past its natural conclusion. I mean really, there is nothing worse then reading a book that loses its passion halfway through. Like those Twilight books am I right? (Is that beating a dead horse? Sorry Steph Meyer)

As a writer this topic is important to me, and as a human being trying to live life, its even more important. As it is to everyone else as well. I assume anyway, maybe there are some people who love over staying their welcome out there. Regardless, I hope that my ramblings and hopeful metaphors bring possible clarity to any of you dealing with a potential end to something important.

As always, love deeply and be weird.

 

 

 

 

<Creative/CONtrol

I feel as though something every creative person struggles with from time to time is the concept of doing it for themselves or doing it for them. The “Them” I am referring to is the clients/employers/general population. It can be easy to get caught up in the idea of producing art or otherwise creating things for a paycheck. I mean isn’t that the dream? Being able to do what you love and being financially secure from it? At the same time though, can’t that be torturous if you wind up doing something thats only a fraction of the craft you love? Something thats diluted and watered down by the interjections of an institution of some kind? I myself do freelance writing and while I do enjoy aspects of it, I find that it takes away from the time I used to have to create in the way that I love to.

With that being said, I’m not complaining, only stating that in those situations you need to make sure you find a little bit of time to do what you truly love and balance your passion with the paycheck.

Heres my effort to do that exact thing.

I present to you Chapter one of “A Bastard’s Last Dance”.

The liquid that filled my mouth was thick and tasted of metal. My jaw was clenched tight as another fist swung into and connected with the right side of my chin. The blood I had been holding onto fled the vessel of my mouth with vigour as I fell. I landed on my left side supported by my hands and knees, the blood slowly dripping from my now open mouth. I had no words for the man standing behind me though he had plenty for me. I wasn’t altogether sure anymore why I was here on the ground. Not to say that I didn’t think I deserved to be but to say that I thought I had more fight in me. While assessing my beliefs in my combat abilities I felt the business end of a steel toe boot connect with the left side of my ribs. I am ashamed to say this is when I first cried out in pain. It wasn’t the two punches to the stomach or the two to the jaw. It wasn’t even collapsing on hands and knees in an abandoned warehouse where not one of my friends could find me. It was feeling the tip of that boot connect with my ribs and hearing the loud crack that went along with it. To clarify the audible I must confess that it wasn’t my ribs that cracked, though I imagine there are fractures. No, it was what I had placed in the inner pocket of my jacket that emitted the distressing sound that caused my outcry. The item to which I was affectionately attached had initially belonged to my father. It was his favourite watch that he had left me. The last object besides the DNA within me that connected us. I knew that the destruction of a material item such as a watch could never sever the bond or dissolve the memories I had of him. Though it was the principle of the item that I had wished to remain intact. As I rolled onto my back with the pain in my ribs pulsing through my torso I clutched my jacket where the now broken watch resided. It was neither the item or my possession of it that brought me to this low of a place both literally and metaphorically. It was something else entirely that can neither be truly possessed or otherwise owned. The man was pacing around me saying words that I both understood and didn’t agree with. He made claims of trespassing and theft though to which he referred could as I mentioned, be neither owned or possessed. As I lay in pain on the ground surrounded only by emptiness and the words of my villain, I managed to retrieve the pack of cigarettes i held in my right side pocket. He didn’t seem to care as I flipped open the lid and produced what was now a half sized cigarette presumably damaged in the struggle. I lit my small but equally as appreciated saving grace and took my first drag. I was overwhelmed with an awesome wave of calm as it soothed my aches. Intent on savouring my chemical bliss I let the smoke drift slowly through my lips as I noticed his ranting had stopped. Drawing my eyes back to his presence he stood now several feet away. All was as I’d left it save for the knife now clutched tightly in his grip.

“Well alright then”

I mumbled softly. My eyes floated back to the smoke still escaping into the world. I took another long drag, this time enjoying it more as my last. As he took another step towards me the plume of smoke I exhaled reminded me of a rose. A beautiful and elegant rose, like the very flower that got me into this mess. I closed my eyes to his advancing and basked in the memory. The warmth filled me as a pot of hot water and I floated away silently. Drifting away just me and my flower.

Post_Vacation_Bliss.exe

I’ve never really taken a vacation before. I mean, not one that was longer than a weekend and in a country other then the one I live in. Not one that I can recall while I sit here and type this anyways. Which is fine, because I’d rather have gone on few amazing vacations instead of many mediocre ones. Which is just my way of justifying a lack of vacationing I suppose. Its like when people say that its not how many friends you have its the quality, they’re just ashamed that they aren’t likeable enough to have more friends (I’m joking). I think I jut never thought I really deserved to take a vacation because I never really felt like I worked that hard to have earned one. I don’t feel that way now. About the vacation I just took at least.

It was time anyways, my partner and I have been together almost four years and had never had a real vacation and after the last year of endless hard work we just went through it was hard earned and well deserved. I mean she works hard, very hard. I suppose I don’t like, save lives or anything, but a friend once told me that its all perspective. For instance, I serve coffee at my day job and do freelance writing in my nights. You could argue that with the coffee I provide, I am saving lives. That isn’t to say that I’m on the frontline of salvation armed with percolated glory and a sling of holy coffee beans. Though it is to say that maybe that old yarn about “Give me my coffee before I snap” could be true for someone on a specific morning and I’m the one postponing the breakdown. Either way.

I don’t actually believe that I save lives, but I do believe that I at times have the ability to make a difference in someones day. Even if I’m just a blip on the radar, which is okay with me believe me, I think I leave a mark. Now I want to clarify that I don’t mean leave a mark like a lasting legacy and they’ll tell stories of my wisdom at the campfire to the younglings before bed. Just that maybe they’ll smile and think for a second that the day isn’t bleak and the end is a little more distant seeming than the horizon (Which isn’t me saying the end is nigh, we’ve probably got another ten years at least, or twelve).

The strange thing about vacationing to me is that you leave your home, go somewhere new to you (or familiar) and you live like you would if you weren’t restrained by work or obligations. The reason why I find that strange is that if we really wanted to I think a lot of us could live like we want a little more frequently in the place that we do call home. Not to be little the vacationing aspect of life, I do love it dearly, I just think that we may idolize a concept that can be applied more directly to everyday life. I mean think about it, maybe your idea of a good time is to climb way up into the alps or ski down a mountain in the freezing cold at break neck dangerous speeds (I’m not a skier, can you tell?). Then of course you cant just do that on a whim because your day job felt extra boring on a Tuesday. Maybe though, we can do more of the little things daily that make us smile and keep us happy instead of postponing them for that big trip you’ve been planning for two years and haven’t saved up enough for yet. Just a thought.

Regardless of what works for you, you should do it. For me, a vacation seems to have worked at least a little bit. The inner monologues have slowed down to a reasonable pace and the hordes of people I share this world with don’t seem quite as intimidating as usual. Maybe now I can get back to being productive in a creative way more frequently. I mean I do love money (money money money) but I should spend more of my time doing the things I love. So without dragging this thing out into a rally or a Ted talk. Lets all raise a glass of whatever you’re drinking as you read this and toast to love, dreams and whatever it is that makes us tick (unless its illegal, then cut it out you cheeky monkey).

Also, one last thing, never gamble. Even when you win, you wind up losing. Unless you win big, like really big, then always gamble and always win.

 

Proving Grounds

To step into the ring of life is something forced upon everybody the day they’re born. To actually stand up and fight is something else entirely. That is a personal choice you come to on your own. Based upon early childhood experiences and your upbringing. It can be an uphill climb for some people, or the only option they have.

I personally feel as though I always had to have a bit of fight in me, yet it still took me time to really start swinging. Even now I catch myself relaxing, or slowing down, and have to correct that as I notice it. That isn’t to say that you cant take breaks or pause. It means different things to every person. To me, it means that I need to keep moving forward. There are things in all of our lives that can hold us back and keep us down, the point is to supersede those things and achieve.

That is not always something so simple as just “Getting up”. In those instances, its important to have a reason. Find your own reason and use that to push you. I have my own, which you can probably infer from the writing, or even my honest answers. The point I’m trying to make, is that life is a battle ground, and everyone has a part to play.

I feel like I’ve been raised to be strong, to fight and to win. Therefore I will. It’s still a struggle within, between my desire to rest and my need to fight. I hope I’m able to stoke the fire well enough to accomplish my goals. Although I suppose we all have to make concessions in the end. Here’s to hoping for fewer internal compromises and grander victories.

Life is an empty book as well, and each of us is a story teller, write something beautiful.

Came Back Haunted

Alice woke up at the time she had grown accustomed to. It was 8:45 in the morning and the space in the bed beside her was empty, as she had grown accustomed to. It hadn’t always been like that, and wouldn’t much longer be that way. She rolled over in bed and stared at the calendar across from her. Today was the day he came home. It was marked in a black marker and she had memorized the date. Alice hopped out of bed quickly, with a grace and elegance that could only have been rehearsed carefully. Bounding into the ensuite washroom, she leaped into the shower, and began getting ready for the day.

Continue reading “Came Back Haunted”

No Exits

I feel as though one of the most common problems we face as people is complacency. Getting stale and boring. Otherwise just losing all flavour. So we spend hours of our time trying to make plans and come up with solutions to prevent that disaster. The issue with this seems to be that once we’ve made these plans and come up with these strategies. We want out of them, we retreat within. 

Speaking only for myself, I’ve made plans and I’ve had goals, I’ve bailed on myself more times than I can count. It’s just something that happens and I think in an age of infinite possibilities and even greater indecision it becomes a bit of an addiction. Until you never venture outdoors, your friends don’t know where you’ve gone, and you wonder how life passed by so quickly. 

That isn’t to say that you have to always have a perfect plan and follow through every single time. It’s just to say that you need to find the place where you no longer wish to retreat. Once you find yourself in a room that you don’t instantly or otherwise wish to leave, then you’ll know where you belong. Even then it’s not a guarantee that you’ll stay there forever, but it’s at least a place to get something done no matter what it is. 

I think I’ve found that room in this book I’m writing. I can see and feel an actually tangible path and I’m finding I like it there. Granted diving in %100 is difficult, I’m doing my best to follow through. Every day is a choice to persist and move forward. I like to think I keep moving in the right direction. 

It isn’t my intention to teach life lessons, but I think I’ve failed a few times at a few different things. I think that at least entitles me to try and help, the flip side is, this helps me regardless if it helps you. So don’t feel guilty, I know you’re here for me too.