As I laid down to take an afternoon nap after spending the first half of my day switching back and forth from Instagram to Facebook in between watching reality TV programs a thought crossed my mind that caused me to jump up. Was this really how I was going to spend my time? There needed to be more substance in my free time.
Time is the most valuable thing in life. It can’t be replenished, borrowed, or repeated. Once it’s gone, that’s it. None of us know how much time we have left on earth to accomplish what we want to accomplish. That thought terrifies me.
There are so many things that I want to do: travel the world, get married, have kids, and create art that will make an impact on future generations. Even if one person reads my work and it resonates with them I’d be proud. But all of the things that I put off until later, how can I be sure that later will come?
When I keep track of how much time I waste looking at other people’s social media it’s ridiculous. I wake up and check them, when I’m bored I check them, while I’m supposed to be listening to other people I check them. At least an hour a day is spent admiring the trips other people are taking, the luxuries other people enjoy, and the pleasure those people take in doing the things that they love to do. None of that is going to help me achieve my own goals in life.
Nowadays social media can be used for networking, promoting, delivery of news, ways to communicate with friends and distant loved ones, etc. On the other hand it’s also used as a replacement of or distraction from human interaction, an avenue for people to be cruel, hateful, and judgmental (generally to people they don’t know), and it creates feelings of jealousy while feeding other people’s egos.
The information we choose to share or promote is now forever documented and accessible on the world wide web, which should embarrass some people. Then when we’re gone, our families with pass stories of us down to the next generation, and that next generation may remember some of those stories and tell their loved ones but eventually those stories will stop. Someone may find us on Ancestry.com one day but what information will be there other than our census stats or work history?
The professional goals I want to achieve intertwine with my personal goals. I want to write about what I think, know, or have experienced. While I find enjoyment in sharing my thoughts and stories with other people I am driven by creating work that will last long beyond the time I leave this earth.
Regardless of whether my work is critically acclaimed or widely successful I believe my purpose is to be a creative, contributing member of society. I want to paint, draw, write, and express myself artistically in any way that I can. So that when I’m gone the work that I want to be known for will be accessible.
In order to continue my path to publish and promote my work I can’t be driven by greed or the desire to gain notoriety. Being an artist in any form rarely results in overnight success. Of course there are a select few artist and authors that are catapulted into fame from one song or their first book but that’s not to be expected.
There are so many talented people in the world that never gain mainstream success, no matter how hard they work or how deserving they are. It can take years of endless effort, sleepless nights, rejection, missed opportunities, and struggling to get by. That’s why the saying is “starving artist” not “get rich quick artist”. It takes perseverance, faith, and confidence to finally get to the place where you’re making a living off of your work.
No matter how easy and stress free that it is to sit around, enjoy a lazy day, and promise myself that all of the things that I should be doing will get done “eventually” wasting time is not going to get me any closer to where I want to be. So many people live their lives doing what is expected of them or hesitating to take risks personally or professionally.
I did that for so many years. I worked picked a degree in college that I wasn’t passionate about. Worked at jobs based on the salary or how it would look on my resume. After high school I wanted to major in an art based degree but I didn’t because I was afraid of not being good enough, not making money, or not having a “credible” degree.
Only if I knew then what I know now. Time is too valuable to live life any way other than the way that makes you happy. Even if it seems impossible, scary, unappreciated, challenging, or stressful it’s worth it. Because when you’re doing what you love, every obstacle pays off in the end.