Full Time, Part Time, Profession or Pastime: Making the Best of the Time You Have

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

I absolutely envy and admire those who do what they love for a living.

Why? Because when it comes to work, engaging, meaningful and deeply rewarding work, these folks have got it down.

No nine-to-five grind here.

No Monday morning blues or same-shit-different-day disposition.

This is perspiration at its finest.

This is a labor of love.

Of course the cruel reality is we can’t all do what we enjoy for a living.

We can’t all make ends meet doing what we love.

What we can do, however, is learn a thing or two from those who do.

So, whether on the field or in the office, be it building an empire or a set of handcrafted Adirondack chairs, the next time you’re watching a passionate old pro at work, watch closely.

But if at all possible, try to ignore the obvious.

In other words, pay no attention to the top-notch talent and technique or the mind-blowing skill and acumen.

Overlook for a moment the lightning quick hands and fanciful footwork, the sharp wit and exuding self-assurance, and instead, zero in on their eyes, because that’s where you’ll see it.

That’s where you’ll see the deep seated desire and can do spirit, the tireless fight and determined resolve.

Go ahead, take a look.

Then, take a look in the mirror.

Do you see some of these same qualities peering back at you?

If so, congrats, because what you’re looking at is the groundwork for greatness.

The rest, as any seasoned dab hand will tell you, you’re going to have to work at.

Former concert pianist with the New York Philharmonic, John Erskine, learned one of the most valuable lessons of his life when he was just fourteen years old.

After a short string of lessons his piano teacher asked him, “How many times a week do you practice and how long do you practice each time?”

“Once a day for an hour or more,” said John.

“Don’t do that,” she responded. “When you get older time won’t come in long stretches, practice in minutes, whenever you can find them, ten or fifteen before school, after lunch, and between chores.”

“Spread your practice throughout the day and music will become part of your life.”

Now I don’t mean to be a bad news bear, but there’s simply no getting around the fact that we’re all getting older, and despite Mick Jagger’s rose-colored reassurance on The Rolling Stones classic, Time Is On My Side, it’s not.

But hey, that’s no reason to toss your lifelong aspirations to the curb.

While this might sound like some rah-rah rhetoric straight off the pages of a juiced up self-help manual, the truth of the matter is as long as you’ve still got a lick of ambition left in you and can spare even a few minutes throughout your maddening day, then you can still accomplish some pretty amazing shit.

Spare time!? Spare me, right?

Does such a thing even still exist these days?

My guess is that most of us modern day adults would contend it does not.

On the other hand, I’m sure there are some zealous can-do contemporaries among us who would strongly disagree.

In 1994 after forming the basis for the story while on a four hour delayed train trip from Manchester to London J.K. Rowling went on to write much of the manuscript for her breakthrough novel during the most strenuous chapter of her life.

After losing her mother to multiple sclerosis, and as a newly single mother struggling to support her daughter after the breakup of her marriage, Rowling remained determined to realize her dream of becoming a published novelist.

So whenever (and wherever) baby Jessica would fall asleep this full time mom part time writer would seize the short-lived moments to feverishly scribble out bits and pieces of Tales of Harry Potter.

Once again, rock-solid testimony that, over time, a little time can go a long long way.

By the way, for the record, the word spare, by definition, means extra and/or additional, as in spare change or spare tire.

Yet make no mistake, those ‘minutes of practice’ that propelled John Erskine onto a path of personal prominence were anything but spare.

Those ‘short-lived moments’ of slumber that allowed Jessica’s mother to scratch out a few words each and every day and as a result transform their lives forever, were by no means extra or additional.

On the contrary - they were opportunities.

Brief? Absolutely.

Scarce? No doubt.

Nevertheless, when time’s at a premium it’s these opportune moments that can keep your everyday hopes and dreams alive and well.

Granted, not all of us will have the good fortune of doing what we love for a living, but in the end, be it full time, part time, profession or pastime; be it in good times or in bad, we all have an opportunity to live a more fulfilling life by making the very best of the time we have.

This time, like all times,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Is a good one…if we know but what to do with it.”

See ya soon, till then, keeep it up.

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