If you had all the time in the world, no distractions or no limitations, what would you chose to do? I’ve been pondering this question and the various activities I could be doing while I search for a new job. Yes, I’m job-hunting again, due to circumstances beyond my control. My contracted role ended recently due to “funding issues”. My hometown of Derry is known for its dearth of well-paying professional jobs. It’s a small city still trying to crawl its way out of a legacy of division, inequality and economic stagnation, a journey that is a long way off and which has been made all the more difficult due to the ‘B’ word — Brexit. But we persevere in the hope that we will be able to live near our families, a luxury that I know many people cannot afford. And I might yet become one of those people and be forced to leave again.
However, I digress. Now that I’m job-hunting again, there is a swathe of free time on the horizon. Yet I still can’t bring myself to begin the book I’ve been threatening to write for years, or the collection of paintings that I’ve already created in my mind yet so far have struggled to bring to fruition. What is this strange feeling that comes over me when I think of all the things I could be doing? Ideas that exist only in my head and which are crying out to be given weight, life, essence, are left to linger forever in the mysterious regions of my strange and wonderful brain.
Our time is so precious that it’s sometimes difficult to prioritise all the important things that need attention.
It could be procrastination, stemming from a fear of said artistic pieces not being good enough, or it could be good old-fashioned laziness. I guess I’m also distracted by the looming sense of dread that comes with being unemployed while bills and other grown-up responsibilities constantly troll my thoughts.
I’ve always believed that the difference for successful people is that they have actually got off their bums and done something instead of sitting around pondering. I tell myself I’m still in the pondering phase and that there is still time for the next phase, but the truth is it’s action that I really need to embrace. Currently both of the projects I have mentioned are in the ‘work-in-progress’ phase, my art is in the ‘progression’ phase, while my ‘book’ hasn’t received appropriate attention in years. While it has a beginning, I’ve yet to work out the middle and end and all the other bits I keep thinking I’d also like to add.
If I had all the time in the world I suspect I would get nothing done. The old cliche “If you want something done, ask a busy person” seems to be quite apt. I tell myself once I’m busier and working then I’ll have my mind in the correct gear to start working on all the projects I’ve let slip by the wayside. And I’m still holding onto that promise.
When I finish this writing today I’m determined to begin another painting; one of a set with a theme and everything. My easel is set up and my paints are within easy reach. But then I’ve got the dog to walk, job-searching to continue, cleaning to conquer and dinner to cook; not to mention organising a 40th birthday party for my other half.
That’s just life isn’t it? Our time is so precious that it’s sometimes difficult to prioritise all the important things that need attention. But there must be a way. Let me ponder on this elusive way.
Christina Curran is freelance journalist based in Northern Ireland.