The Value of Time

Drink from the creekI managed to get the dog out today before it turned into a sauna outside. That’s been a little tough for me lately–getting out before it is too hot for both the dog and me. Sometimes it is all I can do to drag myself out of bed and hit the trails before the air turns too soggy to breathe, but you know, every time I do, I don’t regret it. I get so much out of these walks. For one thing, I get the joy of watching my dog be a dog. He is not his best in the city on a leash. There are too many things that excite him, and try as I might, I can’t get him enough exercise while he’s on a leash, not when it is this hot. Lately, I’ve been going out in the evenings close to dark, but it’s still too hot to stay out long. On the days when I don’t have to be somewhere at a specific time, we head out to the forest. It never fails to renew my soul. I used to hike a lot more than I do now. I need to change that. Walking in the woods with my dog grounds me in a way nothing else does, and more and more these days, I realize I’m not doing enough of the things that make me happy.

Orange mushroomI have a minor obsession with mushrooms and wildflowers. I get a ridiculous amount of joy out of taking pictures of them. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea. Since it is a little thing, I see no reason not to indulge myself. I got some nice pictures today. A wide variety of shapes and colors that are simply pleasing to the eye. Taking pictures in the woods forces me to slow down, to not march through the forest with an eye on the time, already thinking ahead to what I need to be doing next.

Last night the BF and I watched a quietly charming movie called About Time. I  had no doubt I would enjoy it–the premise is right up my alley: at the age of 21, Tim finds out that the men in his family are capable of traveling back in time to specific events in their lifetime. Tim, being a rather decent guy, uses this ability not only to make things better for himself, but better for those he loves, too. He doesn’t always get it right the first time, but he usually does in the end. Problems come, however, when setting things right for one person irrevocably changes events for others–and sometimes Tim is forced to choose.

Toasted mushroom It was funny, sweet, and unexpectedly poignant. I kept waiting for something absolutely horrible to happen during the entire film, but you know what? It didn’t. Somehow, it managed to be a powerful little movie just the same. It ultimately was a movie about attitudes and finding happiness. It was a movie about living in the moment, and being fully present right now, and I am very glad I saw it. I *needed* to see it.

I’d been feeling a bit like Cinderella post-ball. I’d just returned from Rainbow Con,  where I had a fabulous time meeting so many of my fellow authors, readers, and reviewers in person for the first time. I had some of the best conversations about stories and writing. I learned so much about what to do and not to do at these events, and how to manage my table (hint, spending some time there is a good idea!). I took mental notes about the kinds of swag people brought with them, and the kinds of layouts people had on their tables. I learned that despite being among some of the coolest people on Earth, books will get stolen. I sat in on panels and learned new things about so many topics, opening my mind to subjects I might not have ever thought about before. I had an amazing time at Big Cat Rescue, learning the right and wrong way to run an animal sanctuary, and appreciating the hard work and commitment to education that organization holds.

I came back on fire with ideas about changing my website, and resurrecting old plot bunnies, and a commitment to finishing current WIPs.

TigerBut it’s hard to keep that flame burning when you get back home and fall into the same old routines. It’s hard to leave your ‘tribe’ and come back to an existence where the bulk of the people you meet don’t get what you’re all about–and you couldn’t really tell them anyway. It’s hard to feel as though you’re going back into a little cage after a taste of freedom. It’s tough to trade tigers for tiger lilies. 🙂

I hadn’t been home 24 hours before I was already looking ahead to my next break, my next trip away to be with ‘my people’. Realizing just how much I had to do before that could happen, and knowing that it might be impossible for me to get away again in September as planned. You know what they say, the harness chafes all the more for having been removed for a while.

white mushroom tree baseBut that little movie last night got me thinking about living for the day-to-day moments instead of the big events. And yes, I’ve always known it’s your attitude that counts. The problem is, if you don’t have the right attitude, it is incredibly difficult to change it. Something about that film clicked in my head, though. Like maybe I could make it stick this time. It has certainly been easy enough today. I’m off work today, and I don’t have forty different things going at once, and a dozen different problems to try and solve. We’ll have to see how long the attitude adjustment holds. 😉

I’ve spent most of my free time on my return catching up with the gazillion emails and Facebook posts from friends. I’m astonished that a whole week has gone by without me opening a WIP. That’s going to have to stop. While I love all my deeper online connections, I can feel the stories calling to me. Stories begging to be told.

I’m going to stop wasting my time and then complaining I don’t have enough of it. From now on, when I sit down to talk with someone, all of my attention will be on the conversation. When I write, I will give it my complete focus. No more sucking joy from the future by worrying about it today. No more telling the dog ‘later’ until all of his laters are gone. No more wishing the hours would pass at work only to find myself incapable of doing any of the things I dreamt of all day long.

If I want something, I have to make it happen. There’s no other way.

We all are given the same twenty-four hours in every day. What we do with them is our choice.

 

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