Often one thinks of a writer’s life as quiet solitude. There is the notion of endless clattering on the keyboard or powerful reflection. It really isn’t that black and white. My day is spent alone. Well, not alone, but lacking human companionship. My conversations are held with my four-legged family members. There are constant reminders to our cat, Oreo to stop being an asshole to her sister, Lilo. When it isn’t the cats that steal my attention, it is the two Basset hounds that know when I am about to delve into a piece of writing for a deadline or perhaps, get on a work-related call. They are quick to remind me if I am not adhering to their schedule. Apparently, I am not a writer, but a daycare worker for temperamental animals. It is my own fault, really. You see, they trained me well.
If it isn’t my four-legged friends, then it is a phone call from my mother needing something ordered, paid, or there is something wrong with the television, oven, or some other contraption in her home. Of course, the time restraint that I have between taking Bailey to work and picking him up leaves me with a solid three and a half hours to do something constructive. And there are times when I am still. Maybe I sit and read. Maybe I sit and meditate. Quite possibly, I write or exercise. Then there is the guilt for having this space to do that. Especially when someone calls and asks, “what are you up to?”. Which honestly, if we want to be technical, is no one’s business, but I get that it is merely a way of making conversation. My standard response is “nothing” or “not much”. I wonder why I can vomit those words but I can’t bring myself to say that I am reading or meditating. At least reading is an action versus the black hole of nothing.
It seems that we are destined for obligations. We live in a world where everyone is in constant motion. So, we overdo, overcommit, and cram our calendars with volunteering, activities that we can’t possibly miss, and for what? In the last few years, I have released myself from things I don’t want to do. I say “no” a lot. It isn’t as though I feel that the giving of my time isn’t worthy. It is more like my time is so valuable that I aim to be selective. At the end of my life, I want my obituary to express my love of time and how I filled it with what bring me bliss versus how I crammed my schedule. This space that might appear to others as empty is filling up with things that bring me happiness. They blend well with my standard obligations.
We are filled with responsibilities that can’t be erased, but we are the director of our own film. We can dictate how to spend our time. Choose wisely. Each moment is precious.