Plans by Lois Hewitt

I’m going to write a book.

Going to teach myself guitar.

I am going to learn to knit.

I want to learn calligraphy….

Scrapbooking, painting, soap making, desktop publishing, rug making, piano, playwriting…to name a few.

I have always wanted to learn things. I usually have a long list of things to learn “when I have more time.” Books and supplies have been bought in preparation for such a time. Journals lay empty waiting for a pen to scratch that first word of my book. A guitar and amp collect dust as the time to learn has not yet arrived. Many knitting needles lay in wait.

There is so much I want to learn but yet I do not. As a younger person, I was busy trying to be a responsible adult. Constantly running from place to place dreaming of a time when I could finally do what I wanted. Filling days with music, reading and artistic endeavors of all kinds.

Here I am at the brink of 60 and still waiting for that day. Those brief times between things are now filled up with other things with the intent of doing my learning the next time I have down time. As each day comes and goes, I feel like I’ve lost an opportunity to learn something. I am tired now after a full week of work. Weekends are for cooking and catching up on cleaning. When will the days come when I can live in the pleasure of my artistic wishes?

I wait for the perfect time. That’s my thing…i have always done it. Certainly the perfect time will present itself. A time when I’m actually not tired, the apartment needs no attention, dinner is cooked, clothes are clean, garbage is out, bills are paid….Wait! That time will never come! There are ALWAYS responsibilities waiting to be done.

As every day passes, I am happy for checking off the items from my to do list. Thankful at the end of the day for all I was able to accomplish but also a little sad that I missed yet another opportunity to feel guitar strings beneath my fingers. Another day my many journals remain void of words. Opportunities lost.

When you are 20, time seems to be a non-issue because there is still so much of it. At 60, however, time is more finite.

I mourn the fact of all the money I wasted in my life, all the debt I created. I think of how badly I managed such things and I grieve. But as I get older I am starting to think of all the time I misused. Like finances, once time is wasted it is gone. New time, if you are lucky, will appear but the time gone is forever gone.

I have always had a strong need to learn new things. Yet also have a strong fear of failure. In the darkest part of my brain I often hear the words…why bother, you won’t be any good at (fill in the blank). I guess that’s why that perfect time will never appear, because I just don’t trust myself to utilize the time properly and feel my talents are fairly non-existent.

That is also why my wish lists of things to learn has always been so long. If I keep myself overwhelmed, I have an excuse for not trying. Now, I hear my inner voice admit total defeat because I’m just to darn old now.

I think maybe a should start with baby steps. Carve out some time for me to learn something new. I always forget the journey is supposed to be the fun part not the conclusion. I have made myself into a to do list person and I have forgotten about those crazy things that never make it to the list.

So what if I’m terrible at playing the guitar but I enjoy the process. What if my knitted scarf looks nothing like any kind of fashion accessory. So what! Who cares! The journey is where the precious moments live. I’ve been too afraid to go there.

I’m going to tone my list down a bit and start making time for enriching my soul. Whether I’m good or horrible, I will not care. Will my best guitar work land me a record deal? Not in this lifetime. But I can still enjoy the feel of creating something, of learning something and allowing myself to fly no matter how low.

Especially in these trying times, we need to look after our souls. Replenish strength when possible and find the joy which may be found in a chord, a word well written, a meal or whatever. It’s time, the almost perfect time, to start looking at the journey in a new way. I need this today and everyday. I hope you find your joy today!

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