You will be pleased to hear that I signed up for a writing challenge to lay out the Quest for 2016 over the course of the month of December. (I presume you will be pleased, since you are bothering to read. If you are not pleased, please pass by. We are a hedge.)
The first prompt comes from Susan Piver, a writer I have long wished to work with. Her prompt is: What I most need to tell myself about 2016 is…
It’s all life. There is no Work-Life “balance”.
You can’t segment off some section of your time and say, “That’s OK. I don’t have to count this against my allotment of ‘life’.” There’s no getting that time back; it’s a part of your life you’re using there.
So my question for you is, “What are you going to do with it, this life of yours?” You know what your priorities are: Make meaning, make things, make connections.
Read, write and make art. Knit, grow, keep working with technologies that lead to more of what you want. Have conversations, meet new people… let them inside the walls. Pay attention to who and what is around you.
All this blogging has made you friends rather than clients. Sometimes you have been afraid that this means you will never be able to “make a living”. Don’t err in this: it is a success. Meaning is a gift, given freely to be picked up by those to whom it makes sense. It builds on dozens of years of study, built upon thousands of years of study.
The thinking you do at three in the morning is still work. If you taught the things you used to teach, the things you write about, you could get paid for it. It counts.
Things. Things lie on the “practical” side of this equation. The socks and dinners, websites and workshops, potatoes planted and harvested, greeting cards and cloaks… these are valid work, whether you are paid for them or not. There is no work separate from life. If you sold your lettuce, and used the money to buy different lettuce, you would count that. It would be ridiculous, but it would count.
Remember your new answer when people ask, “What do you do?” The correct (and accurate) answer is, “Be Awesome!” Your friends told you so. (I also suspect that it will also get you out of most of those uncomfortable conversations, and into exactly the ones you want to get into. It’s certainly worth a try.)
You are making order in the universe in your own way. There’s only one thing, only one path through this mystery.
It’s all life.
Here is a practical bit: SOME of it can be traded for money.
That does not make it your most valuable time. There’s not a lot of money in bandaging skinned knees, playing games with new friends, singing in the park, or reading bedtime stories.
Get this, truly get it… and the money question will finally make sense.