I am the laziest man I know.
I lead a life of selfish pursuits, empty promises, and unfulfilled ambitions.
I say this because I’ve had multiple conversations in the past couple of weeks about how busy you are and how hard you work and how impressive it is that you’re able to write a book with everything you do. And one of these conversations was with my own wife. Of all people, she should know better.
So…what do I do?
1. I teach (which includes planning, grading, meeting with students, exchanging emails and phone calls with parents, etc).
2. I coach (football in the fall, rugby in the spring).
3. I work out, generally lifting and running (in the wee hours of the morning during the fall, in a short gap between school and practice in the spring, and mostly whenever the hell I feel like it the other six months of the year).
4. I write (normally for an hour or so before the sun comes up, with extra time on some weekends and over summer vacation).
5. I work in my yard (usually only 1-2 times a week, mostly in the summer).
6. I spend as much time as I can find with my daughter and my wife (which, admittedly, isn’t much for half of the year).
Now…let’s balance that against what I don’t do in each case.
1. I don’t take much of my work home with me. Admittedly, I get to school about 90 minutes early every day. And I allow myself minimal if any downtime while I’m there. But typically almost no grading, planning, etc goes home with me. I’ve always justified that by saying that I want to keep my private life and my professional life separated – that when I’m home with my family, I want to be home with my family – but, quite frankly, I think it’s because I just don’t want to do any homework.
2. I don’t watch enough film, I don’t spend enough time at clinics, and I don’t put in enough hours outside of practice. And I consider quitting every year because I look ahead at the season and it always looks hard.
3. This is all about sanity and vanity. Exercise keeps me emotionally balanced and gives me opportunities to let my mind wander. But I’m not an athlete. I don’t even run races (even in spite of the fact that one of my life goals is running a marathon). So what the hell am I doing?
4. For an hour a day? Really? And sometimes that hour is spent here, on my blog, rather than actually working on my next book. I don’t spend any late nights at the keyboard, I don’t make any sacrifices for my writing, and I really don’t accomplish much. Who am I kidding?
5. I cut my grass. I find the occasional small landscaping project. But – as you already know – I generally don’t get out my weed-whacker. I don’t consistently weed my flower beds. I’m typically delinquent cleaning up after my dogs (which means my daughter often can’t play in our backyard). I work just enough to make it look like I take care of my house so I don’t piss off my neighbors, but beyond that…
6. Ok…I think this is the one thing I generally get right, even if it comes at the expense of 1-5. But even still, those six months gnaw at me.
With that said, what else don’t I do?
I don’t market my writing for shit. I’ve set up pages and accounts and what-not all sorts of places that are supposed to be great marketing platforms for self-published writers, but I don’t do crap with them. I tell myself that I’m learning, but I have to actually DO something before I can LEARN anything.
And let’s think about that writing for a minute. If I was really dedicated to it, I wouldn’t go months at a time without accomplishing anything. I wouldn’t be 33 and publishing my first book. I wouldn’t be writing and then sitting here with nothing to show for it. I’d be submitting. I’d be networking. I’d be pressing the flesh. I’d be GOING SOMEWHERE. I would be PUBLISHED rather SELF-published. Wouldn’t I? As it stands right now, what am I accomplishing for my family? What more – what BETTER – could I be doing with that time to benefit my wife, daughter, and our upcoming second?
I don’t have a second job in the summer, even in spite of the fact that my wife and I are living on one income in a house purchased with a two-income budget. And I don’t focus anywhere near enough on the job I have during June, July, and August.
I’m a shit friend. I don’t socialize. I’ve done nothing to keep in touch with my friends from college, even though I miss them like crazy. I live in the same area where I grew up, and I do still see my high school friends every month because of it. But outside of our regularly scheduled get-together, I do nothing to keep up with them. Hell, I’m so bad that I barely see or even speak with my friends from work during the summer.
Sadly, I’m just as bad with parents, my sister, and the rest of my extended family.
My finances – I’m thinking specifically about my children’s college savings and my retirement – are a fucking train wreck. If something were to happen to me tomorrow, my family would be in deep shit.
My house is falling apart. I can’t even begin to list all the projects and repairs that I’ve been putting off and/or completely ignoring. I try to tell myself that it’s because I’m so busy right now. But I used that same excuse in the fall during football. And I didn’t get a damn thing done during the winter. I’ll keep telling myself that I’m waiting for summer, but – again – who am I kidding?
Don’t take this as a fishing expedition.
I’m not looking for reassurance. I’m not trying to weasel compliments or sympathy out of anyone. I just need to vent. It chaps my ass a little bit when people tell me how hard I work because I go through every day of my life feeling like I don’t do shit but lay on my ass and hope and dream and lament everything I could/should/would accomplish.
Every day I’m surrounded by people that are not only doing more than me, but they’re also doing it better. I work with teachers who are always on the ball with their planning and their grading, who have incredible rapport with their students, and who both work their asses off when they’re at home and teach their asses off when they’re at school. I also work with coaches who put in extra hours both in-season and off-season, who live and breath film and clinics and spring practices and everything else it takes to get better and stay on top. I talk to parents who have a plan, who know how they’re going to pay for their children to go to college and how they’re going to retire, and who still know how theyr’re going to renovate their homes and take a family vacation on top of it. And then I sign on to WordPress and find myself surrounded by writers and bloggers who have distinct voices, unique platforms, and scads of readers and followers. In other words, writers who have something to show for their work.
With all that said, I’m ignoring my wife during the one hour of the day that we typically get to spend together so I can focus on this post (which should have been done this morning, but I started it late and thus couldn’t finish it before having to leave for work). So I’m going to wrap it up and focus on the one thing I can control right now. Hopefully if I can be a good husband and father, the rest will find a way to take care of itself.
And hopefully my wife will let me off the hook for all the shit I still don’t have done around the house so I can find a few more minutes to write.