Thursday, September 1, 2011

On Squandering: a Letter to Myself

Don’t squander time. It’s a clichéd piece of advice, but so useful: make every second count.

Don’t squander energy. We are all guilty of this one. We give away our energy to all kinds of really stupid things. We give it to anger, to worry, to hopeless pursuits of perfection. We give it to people who don’t deserve it. We give it to our stuff, to fretting and hoarding and to working too hard and too long for more stuff. We give our energy to nursing hurt feelings over perceived or actual wrongs. To comparing ourselves to others. To jealousy. To holding grudges. To desiring something we don’t need…or even really want. To making excuses. To lying to ourselves.

We squander our faith and our energy in longing for things we have little or no control over. We set publication and acceptance as our goals instead of pages written and submissions sent.

Don’t squander creativity. There are days when one derives true joy from spending whole hours adding frosting curlicues to the top of a birthday cinnamon roll and there are days when a quick trip to the bakery section at Ingles will do just fine. Do not invest your talent in gossip or in obligatory cupcakes or in facebook status updates.

Dear self, determine what’s important. Then, pour yourself into it. Picture it: all the little containers—some marked family, others work, then friends, art, faith, house, everything else--and only so much you.