Why do we have trouble finding time but no problem wasting it?
—Beth Mende Conny
The day my aunt graduated from college, with honors no less, was one of the high-points of her life. It had taken her 20 years — 20 years!
I cannot fathom how she kept at it, how anyone could. What’s more amazing still is that she did it while raising two children and working part-time and full-time on occasions when my uncle was out of work.
She and my uncle had one car, which meant she could take only evening classes. It also meant she had to do all errands on foot, kids in tow; the supermarket was about a mile away. On weekends, she cooked and froze enough meals for the week. She went to bed shortly after her children did. She then set her alarm for midnight and studied until about 4 a.m. She caught a couple more hours of sleep and was then back at it. Twenty years!
I tell you her story because she is one of my inspirations. But her story also illustrates how, when necessary, we can find time to pursue a dream, even if it isn’t under optimal conditions. And that raises an important question: Why do we have trouble finding time but no problem wasting it?
Time is always available to us. It’s just a matter of looking for it. True, it may not come when we prefer or in the amount we need, nor may it be steady. But it is there nonetheless. So start looking for it. It certainly won’t be looking for you.
Excerpted from Fearless Creativity, an indispensable companion to the creative life. In it, you’ll find ideas and exercises to reclaim your time—and your dreams.
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