This is for all of us who think we are “too busy” to accompish _________. (I’m looking at YOU, college students!)
In fairness, I’m looking at all of us, because we all fall into this trap from time to time. The trap is believing the voice in our head that says we are “too busy” to accomplish something without recognizing it for what it almost certainly is instead, an issue of priorities.
Toni Morrison was a Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author who had nothing to do with the writing business until she was 36. That is the opposite of having an “in” within a profession.
She wrote her first book, which wasn’t published until she turned 39, by waking up before her kids did every morning because she was a single, working mother. That’s when she could get the writing done.
Now that’s dedication.
Anyone can wake up two hours before their children and do two hours of work before they are on parent duty. Anyone.
My primary gig for the last five years has been stay-at-home dad. The time I’ve been able to devote to my podcasting, freelancing, consulting, Pedal Note Media, college teaching, private teaching, residencies, writing, recitals and everything else I’ve got going without my son present has been at a premium for over five years.
Guess how many times in those five years I woke up early enough to get hours of work done before my son woke up. Twice.
Why? Because being a parent is hard as hell. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I just didn’t have it in me to wake up that early.
But that’s okay!
I got to a place where I was at peace with my Band Director’s Guide series not having a new volume come out for years. I got to a place where I was okay that I didn’t release the TEM Podcast on a rigidly regular schedule.
The fact is I made a choice, whether intentionally or just through my actions (or lack thereof), that making those things happen wasn’t worth me trying to parent on dangerously little sleep (dangerously for my sanity!)
If anything I’ve been putting off ever rose to the level of truly urgent, I would have woken up at 4:00 am. Or quit my teaching job (which I did but then a much better one fell into my lap!) Or put my son in daycare (which we wanted to avoid if we could.) Bottom line is I would have changed something to make it work.
So the next time you tell yourself you are “too busy” to do something, think of Toni Morrison and ask whether it might just be an issue of priorities.
What an inspiration that woman was to us all. She is dearly missed.