Erin does it again.
I’ve often marvelled how she can be so eloquent and “spot on” with how she writes. In this age of social media where people just “scan” stuff (myself included), here she is, writing a ton and I’ll be drawn and glued to the words – drinking them in, absorbing them. I’ve always told friends I’d like to be her when I grow up, or I’d like to be doing what she is doing when I have time – write everyday.
And then this.
Whenever I teach journaling classes, or writing classes of any sort, I am forever asked how I find the time. How do you carve out a few minutes to write every single day? But I don’t think that’s the real question we wrestle with, is it? The real question is a far simpler one: Is it essential? We find time for the essential, after all. We find time to brush our teeth, to shower, to feed the dogs, to feed ourselves. We find time to go to work, to go to sleep, to go to the grocery for milk. And so, the question isn’t how we find the time. It is why. The answer, for me, is that writing is the most indulgent practice, and also the least, given that each contradiction met on the page offers the opportunity to accept the many contradictions of another. That's it. There is no how. Sit down at your local coffee shop and type out a blog post. Make notes on the back of your kid’s artwork, grocery lists, appointment reminders, marketing meeting agendas. Draw pictures on a napkin at the sports bar. Write long-winded cursive letters to your future self in a leather-bound journal on a rainy day. Leave yourself voice recordings while sautéing the onions. Listen, I know you’re busy. I know you have small children, or aging parents, or needy dogs and grown-up responsibilities and a full-time job and you're already late for the dentist. Write that down, too, if you’d like. Say what it feels like to be drowning. Feel the shape of those words. Understand that this is your life – your gift. Allow yourself five minutes to introduce yourself to it. It will look ugly. The truth often does. You’ll be tempted to twist your words into lies that make you sound like less of a jerk at the end of the day. Understand that we’re all jerks at the end of the day. Choose to be one of the honest ones. Yes, journaling is essential. It is essential to me, and I think likely to you, and the how doesn't matter. But the why does. Here’s to the stories we live, and the stories we tell. May they be one and the same.
It’s like a gentle slap on the wrist, you know. Or like a Mom going down at eye level with her child to gently explain to him that he needs to brush his teeth before going to bed.
I have time to watch Kdramas.
I have time to play Candy Crush.
I have time to scroll endless social media feeds.
It reminds me I am halfway through Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism, and it has forced me to face some hard truths about how I’ve been living the past few months (actually, years).
So here I am. Choosing to do what is essential.
This time, I can. I will not try. I will do.