I used to cringe when I heard people talk about growing old. “You better enjoy these carefree days while you can, kid,” they would tell me.
“My life isn’t carefree,” I always wanted to say. “I worry about everything.”
Of course I never said that. I just ignored their admonishments and went back to worrying about passing a test or how I’d tell my friend I lost her copy of Helter Skelter or whether the boy sitting behind me in World History knew I was alive.
It wasn’t until much later that I finally realized life truly is fleeting. The older I get, the more aware of it I become. Until I grasp the value of time I will continue to squander and waste it, not doing what needs to be done.
Since this is a writing blog I won't get into letting others know how much they mean to us or how we should stop and smell the roses, though that stuff is extremely important as well.
All I will do here is remind you that when we are gone, our stories go with us. The stories of our childhood, our parents, those frozen moments etched in our hearts that helped shape us into who we are today, are waiting to get onto the page. When we are gone, they will be lost forever.
I have a friend who says he doesn't have time to write though he enjoys discussing his writing ideas with me. He is a busy man. He has a family and a fulltime job and property that needs tended. But he also watches sports on television every weekend. He is nearly addicted to computer games and loves surfing the Net for news coverage.
He has time to write. You find time for what you like. But writing is hard. It's easier and usually more fun to sit around and talk about writing and discuss plotlines and characters than to actually buckle down and get to work. So we put it off. We say someday. We'll wait until we're inspired. Let me tell you, you get inspired by doing something, not sitting around and thinking about doing it.
Once we finally realize the value of our time, often for many of us it is too late. While your life might seem like a long time in the midst of it, truly it is a blink of an eye. Before you know it, you'll look back and wonder what happened to all the years that transpired since you first said you were going to write a book. Don't put it off. Even if you only take a small step today, stop procrastinating.
Write something today. Don't talk to your spouse or coworker or best friend about writing. Write something. Write down a memory from your childhood. Write the story your grandmother always told you about her childhood. I bet it's already harder to recall than it was twenty years ago. Get it down before it's gone. Don't depend on your memory. Don't depend on your sister who remembers all those old stories. Get it down so you can tell it to your child. Better yet, get it down because it may encourage you to keep going, keep telling, until you have a masterpiece ready to submit.