I had lunch with one of my favorite people — who I am lucky to also have a colleague — today and while we devoured street tacos and yucca chips with super hot salsa, we were bemoaning the ways in which even those of us who work in academe, who work with ideas all day every day, seem to struggle to find the time to work with our own ideas. I’ve been wrestling with this over the last year, since I re-entered the conventional workforce after adjuncting and freelancing (and subsequently living hand to mouth) for most of the previous decade. I’ve been blessed to step into a job that’s a great fit for my skills, and where I work with people I enjoy. But I forgot how tired a 40 hour “straight job” made me, and I’ve somehow been laboring under the fiction that I would find time to pursue the things I’m passionate about — writing, researching, making soaps and incenses and ritual supplies — in my spare time, after work, after all the things I have to do are done.
But today it hit me, just as I was poised to put another mouthful of empanada in my face — there is no such thing as down time. All my time can be filled if I let myself fill it, and can be filled with things far less important and less fulfilling that all those things I’m not doing right now.
There is no spare time. There is only the time we make.
It hit me like the proverbial Clue-by-Four — that if I want to be doing all these things I say I want to be doing, including writing, planning retreats, making product, doing research — I have to make the time to do them. I can’t just wait for a spare Saturday afternoon to pop up, because I’ll wait forever. If I want these things — and I do — then they have to become priority.