Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve talked to a lot of friends about the concept of how to spend our time. As they say, even Beyoncé only has 24 hours in a day. We all have to make choices. Try as we might, we can’t do everything, at least not all at once.
So how do we decide what gets attention, effort, and time, and what has to fall by the wayside? And how can we be confident in those decisions once we make them? All I can give you is my own experience. I gave up a lot to write my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. There were many times I didn’t go out and have fun for the sake of writing, rewriting, and editing. I poured myself into that book, and that meant I spent less time on other parts of my career and personal life. I stopped teaching yoga; I took on fewer freelance projects; I spent less time trying to climb the ladder in my business career; I dated less; I made less money; I left my home in New York City to go out into the unknown. All for the sake of a book that I wasn’t sure would ever see the light of day.
You might be asking, “What the hell was she thinking?” and you’d be very right to ask.
I was thinking that if I didn’t write this book, if I didn’t get this story down and work my a*s off to get it out into the world, then I would be left with a profound sense of regret. And I don’t mean the regret varietal that goes something like, “Huh, I wonder what that would have been like.” Nope. I’m talking about the kind of regret you read in articles like Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Want to know the #1 regret in that list? “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” Ouch. I couldn’t live, or die, with that. I had to be true to myself now, and that meant I had to write this book. So I gave up what was needed to get it done. And there isn’t a single thing I gave up that I wish I had done instead of writing that book. Not one.
I had the great gift of a fire that nearly killed me at age 33. The 8th anniversary of that fire is about a month away, and every day since then has been gravy in my mind. I was infinitely fortunate to survive. I have tried hard to live a life I’m proud of, even if people don’t understand it, don’t agree with it, and criticize it. I hope I’m around to see 103. Seriously. If our world is this insane today, just imagine the crazy sh*t we’re going to experience in the year 2079! But if that’s not in the cards for me, that’s okay. Really. I wrote this book. It’s the creative act of my life that I’m most proud of. If and when you hold that book in any form in your hands, you are holding my heart. How great is it to be able to give that away in the hopes that it helps some one, somewhere, some time.
That’s what I did with my time here on this Earth in this life, and it was more than worth it. What’s your Emerson? Find that. Pursue that.