First words, screwing off, and other matters

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You’re probably wondering why there’s a picture of a fox on your screen, and what it has to do with this post.

Welp. I don’t know, really. I was looking at something that might go well with the topic, and since I couldn’t come up with anything, I settled on a cute pic of a young fox. A child really. I guess that’s the point.

My son is ten months old, almost eleven, as I write this. Today, he just said his first real words. Hi dada (which counts, in baby speak, especially since he repeated it on demand). He also tries to say “hot”, which is what I tell him when he tries to grab my coffee mug. I’ve never been so proud of something in my entire life. It amazes me that it’s possible to love someone so much in such a short period of time, automatically.

I think about how small he is, and how quickly he’s grown in such a short time period. Just January he was born; he’s crawling now. I try to spend time with him every day.

If ever we need a reminder why we do the things we do, it’s for our families. Our loved ones. I think about the things I pursue – writing, as my example – I do it because I love it, of course, but that isn’t always enough. Why not? Because I am a father. 

To do something for one’s self is selfish. Parents no longer have that luxury, despite anything they say. Everything a parent does from the day they conceive a child has to revolve around that little person. Bringing him or her into the world is the absolute most important thing a person can do. Raising that little person to be an adult, a responsible, thriving adult, is no mean feat.

I’m not knocking hobbies or things done to blow off steam here, and I’m really just speaking for myself. A lot of times the things I write on this blog are just for me. It’s my way of documenting something so I won’t forget. Also to keep some accountability.

For me, because I want to write for a living, I can’t afford to screw around, pretending I’m doing this “just as a hobby”.I want this thing to give me Freedom with a capital F. Freedom to stay at home and watch my son grow up, kick a soccer ball around with. (No football!)  I want to see him play his first game, first piano lesson, first recital. I want to teach him all the things I think I can give him to prepare him for the larger world out there. Most of all, I just want him to know that his dad loved him. And that, my friends, is why I toil on.

I’m done screwing off. Back to writing.

 

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How to Kill Your Success, Part Deux

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! This is the day when we all look back over our lives and remember to be thankful for everything we have. There’s definitely lots to be thankful for. My wife and I had our first child, and it took us fifteen years to crank out the little guy so I’m definitely thankful for him. And of course, the lovely woman who birthed him. Yes, that is me with my early morning wildman hair and no glasses. (The little guy kept pulling them off while trying to press his head against my head.)

The last few years have been crazy. I was fortunate enough to spend my father’s last 5 years with him, getting to know him, his likes and dislikes, his love for his family. He was a spiritual man who felt the need to impart his knowledge and wisdom to his children. He also encouraged my writing, and as I continue on this journey he continues to stay in my thoughts.

This thanksgiving I want to talk about one of the things that keep me motivated, and should hopefully help you keep on track as well.

You are going to die.

Wait, what? You thought I was going to say something else?

I can’t take credit for it. A guy by the name of Gary Vaynerchuk said it. But it’s awesome, so I stole it. But what does it mean? It means that time is short. If you want to accomplish anything meaningful, you can’t waste it.

Time is the one thing in this life that has any real value. We all trade time for money. We spend time in ways we hope will produce income, whether it’s writing or some other pursuit that interests you. People place a monetary value on it. But the reality is, it’s all you really have.

We also waste a lot of time. we do things that don’t move us forward, towards the things we want in life. We waste time being mad at people over petty things that don’t matter. We write each other off over political differences, personal choices, pie recipes, cat pictures. (By the way, I don’t have cats so don’t post pics of them. I’m allergic.)

We waste time everywhere. Society keeps us busy with TV, internet, social media, video games, all designed to hold our attention (and rake in revenue, of course).

I’m not going to knock people’s past times. Everyone has hobbies for relaxation, I know I do. But if you’re one of those people who complains about not having enough time, you may need to rethink where you’re spending your existing time. Most of us have jobs, things to take care of. So ask yourself, what are you doing with your time? Write it down. Write down where your existing time is going, so you can see it in front of you. Then, after deciding what it is you want to do, start cutting the things out that are eating the precious bits of time you could be spending somewhere else.

Someday, you’re gonna die. None of us can stop it, none of us can take time back once we’ve spent it. The biggest thing people do to kill their own success is wasting the one thing that they have that can give them success.

The good thing about time is that even if you’ve wasted some, life isn’t over. If you’re still breathing,  you still have time. You can still do all the things you want to do. You just have to keep trying, and stop throwing your time away.

Cheers.