There’s a line in Sex and the City that has stuck out to me almost more than any other part of the show. Its from a scene where Miranda has just had her baby, and she’s struggling to maintain the balance of work, baby, and friendships. She’s flustered, and trying to pay attention to what Carrie is saying, but is clearly distracted by everything going on around her. Carrie’s getting ready to leave after Miranda can’t keep up with the conversation, but Miranda says something along the lines of, “My friendships are important to me.”
This is how I’ve felt this month. I went hardcore and tried to live by the philosophy of don’t do things out of obligation. And then I felt like some of my relationships were suffering from being focused solely on my own personal aspirations. But at the end of the day I have to accept that life happens. People need you, and you need you. There has to be time to eat, to exercise and take care of your body. There has to be time to give yourself a mental break.
I remember reading a writer’s advice to someone who was asking how to find time to write, when they also had to work a full time job. The author replied that working a forty-hour week is nothing, that you still have so many hours to commit to writing that it shouldn’t be an excuse.
And I completely and respectfully disagree with that statement. It’s never just forty hours that are occupied, and everything else is blank. Where is the time to do basic things like clean, cook, shower, sleep? Pay bills, take care of a family if you have them? Walk your dog or remember to water that wilting bamboo plant you forgot about for a week? Never mind connecting with the world, maintaining relationships with family and friends, that basic human interaction that keeps a person sane.
There’s always going to be things that are detracting from writing, but that’s the real world. I think the important thing, at least for me, is to not get resentful of all the real world things that get in the way of pursuing your passion. When I’m bitter that my job takes up so much time, I remind myself that I’m lucky to have a paycheck, and insurance, and to work with people who bring in bagels for everyone just because it’s Wednesday. When my mom needs me to do some time-consuming task, I remind myself she’s my number one go-to person for when I need something. If a friend is running late to meet me at the gym, I need to acknowledge that I probably wouldn’t have taken my tired self there in the first place if we hadn’t made the commitment. You need people, or at least I do. So I’m trying to appreciate that I’m lucky enough to have such a full plate, and to remember to not waste the free moments that I am given for myself.