Every weekend is time away from my regular job that I get to cram as much writing work in as possible. Working on something I’m passionate about that doesn’t pay is hard, and it’s made even harder when it feels like the years are flying by so quickly.
I’m only 22, and I feel like my time for success is running out. I feel like I only have a couple of years before this great big imaginary deadline, when in reality if I’m fortunate to live long enough, I have an entire lifetime. I could publish my first novel when I’m 70 and it wouldn’t take away from my achievement, it wouldn’t mean I was a failure just because I chose to prioritise other things in life over it.
There’s a lot of pressure to achieve young; countless ‘30 Under 30’ lists and articles ending with “What have YOU achieved this year?”. In terms of success, it feels like we have very short lives. Yes, I’m working on my goals, but am I working fast enough? I’ve got so many things to juggle in life that sometimes the passion projects fall to the end of the pile, and I’m beginning to learn that that’s okay. There’s writing projects I haven’t touched in around 6 months, but that doesn’t mean they’ll never be finished.
I procrastinate a lot, but I’m also ambitious. For years it’s felt like two sides of myself have been fighting it out over what I should be doing with my free time; should I be growing and learning, or should I relax and unwind? There are countless goals in life I’d like to achieve, but even the smaller ones are half-finished. There’s always an excuse with me; I was busy, or I wasn’t feeling well. I’m starting to learn to be kinder to myself when I can’t complete a project or task as quickly as I wanted to, or if something is more difficult than I had imagined. A break is not the end.
If I can’t stay up until the wee hours working on something, and I can’t devote every minute of every weekend to a passion, does that mean I’m not passionate about it? Of course not! A project that takes someone three weeks to finish might take someone else three years, but that doesn’t detract from the dedication of the latter. Life gets in the way; we travel, we move, we start families, and we lose people. The important thing is to not lose sight of your goals throughout all that life gives and takes away from us.
Even if it takes 50 years, what matters is that you never gave up.