It’s Sunday night. The weekend’s been cold and dreary. Two of my kidlets came down with fever. I’ve been sleeping badly (I don’t deal well with nighttime interruptions). And here I am, cudgeling my brain, trying to come up with an upbeat and uplifting blog post for Wednesday.
Well, I can’t do upbeat, so you might have to settle for thoughtful, with–hopefully–a dash of uplifting.
So, I’m going to write about something that I’ve mulled over a lot in the last few months. It’s the realization that most of what I do–the valuable work of my life (raising children, homeschooling, forging relationships, writing)–take a long long time to bear fruit.
This is completely at odds with the have-it-now messages I’m bombarded with. Technology has made it so much easier to get what I want, when I want it. I finished a book and want the sequel right now? I can download it to my e-reader at any time of day or night. Book not available in digital format? Amazon Prime will have it on my doorstep in two days. I need to quickly put together a unit study, find math drills for the older two kidlets, connect-the-dot worksheets for the Baron, or research a topic? Connect with friends halfway across the world? Find a recipe for tiramisu? Kill time with a fun game? Well, isn’t that why we have wireless high-speed Internet, computers and iDevices?
As a consumer, getting what I want now or soon has been great. But as a creator, as a parent, I need to get out of the want-results-now mindset. I need to accept that every skill has a learning curve, that every craft requires time, patience, nurturing. That parenting three decidedly individual people isn’t as easy or quick as “just add water and mix!” That I can’t spend several weeks reading articles on the craft and art of writing and then bang out the Perfect Novel.
Making peace with this sort of delayed gratification has taught me to celebrate the processes of what I do, as well as the results. It’s not just about the fact that a child learned a skill or internalized a character trait, but the failures and the time and the growth it took him to get there. It’s not just that there’s a finished story on my hard drive, but it’s also about the excitement of the first idea, the fervor of planning, the fallow periods and the angst and the magic when it all came together.
I’m in this–this creating and parenting and learning along with my children–for the long haul. I may as well enjoy the journey.
How about you? How do you enjoy the journey?
Amy Gall says
Great post Rabia!
Holly’s courses highlighted for me just how many people are affected by the ‘instant gratification’ hike. I realised I was on the hike too – I want to do the lesson now! This week! Over and done with and onto the next! I want to write a book now! To hell with the process, the learning, the enjoying and revelling in the moment. I’m gradually letting go of the need to have everything now.
I think it’s a lot to do with getting away from the land. 90 percent of people used to grow food; crops can’t be hurried along so people were linked into the seasons; life had a different pace.
I’ve tried to be more aware of the bigger picture, of a place and a time for everything – even down to eating strawberries and asparagus in the uk season and not buying rock-hard imports from goodness-knows-where which don’t taste anything like the real thing.
Yes, I agree. It’s the journey that matters and not the arriving. Arrive too quickly and so much is lost along the way.
I feel the way about tomatoes that you do about strawberries and asparagus! I don’t ever buy grocery store tomatoes but I do love the fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes at the farm stand in summer. Mmm-yum!
Hi Rabia! A very timely post.
After a year and a half of focusing pretty much exclusively on getting to grips with Motherhood, I’m finding it all to easy to feel like I’m ‘failing’ by not having a book or ten written by now and on sale at Smashwords.
So it’s good to read this post and remind myself that I am in this for the long haul, too. 🙂
Because, let’s face it, if you’re a Mother, 99% of your day is devoted to the youngster, the house, your relationship, and all the things that need doing to keep those three things in good working order (e.g. grocery shopping, laundry) and whatever time is left over (for me that means late nights – and that’s NOT the best time of day for me to write) is ‘me time’.
Someone who also writes said to me that she only really began to have regular writing time when her child turned 3. I’m just going to take it one day at a time and go with the flow. 🙂
Great post, Rabia. Thank you.
You’re welcome! I felt the same way you did when my oldest was a baby. Why am I not writing more? But there’s a steep learning curve to mothering, and by the time you have it figured out you either have more children or your youngster’s moved on to the next challenging phase of his development. 🙂
Alina Sayre says
This is so lovely. I completely relate. There’s nothing more worth doing in life than long-term projects, but sometimes it’s hard to be patient in the meanwhile, let alone enjoy the journey. Thanks for the reminder to smell the roses 🙂
Or enjoy the plum blossoms, in your case! 🙂