God, life is way too short. I find myself going through cycles, regarding how much I "get done" versus how much I "play", and I'm constantly analyzing the use of my time. I used to think procrastination was my enemy; and thinking like that made me feel like I let a lot of time slip through my fingers, not doing the things I thought I should be doing. I'm starting to think more like: What I think is procrastination isn't that at all - I'm doing plenty of stuff, it's just not the stuff I *thought* I'd be doing. Turns out if I rearrange my priorities to include whatever it is I am doing, then I'm right on track. It's all good.
The single-minded aim I left college with was that I wanted to Be an Artist. You know, I had some shows, met some people, made some contacts... but the mid-nineties were no time to be fresh out of college and trying to make it big in anything. So some of my time is spent working towards that single-minded goal, or the single-minded concept of myself as a photographer of some great magnitude which I clearly have not yet attained; or, conversely, sometimes I'm doing things which are just fun, and though memorable and exciting aren't "getting me anywhere".
Tell me you can see the flaw in that thinking, okay?
So I go along living life... but only part of the time, when I believe I'm headed towards my vision for myself, do I actually acknowledge that I'm living life. All the rest of the time I think I'm just hangin' out, treading water, waiting for the bus to Oz, whatever. Life is on hold when I'm not actively seeking my big plan. How dumb is that? How long is life, and what's it for? It's short, and it's for whatever you do with it, and that's *everything* -- not just the stuff you get big recognition for. All the stuff I'm doing is my life. Typing this paragraph, right now... this isn't taking me anywhere, this isn't part of a plan. This is just what I'm doing right now. And my life is constructed from the things I spend my time doing. I am someone who never wants to have regrets.
This is your life. Right now. Every second. It doesn't begin when a big gallery picks up your work! It doesn't begin when you meet the man of your dreams! Pleasepleaseplease, do not fail to recognize that every day you are *in it*. This is it.
The most miserable people I know are those who miss this point and stay focused on the things they have planned for themselves that haven't happened yet. It's happening all the time, that's the thing: It just may not be what you think it is. I'm not saying one shouldn't have goals and achievements; what I'm saying is that our time on the planet isn't on pause during the spells in between those things. I think if I only care about and revel in those things, I'm going to look back at a life which is a desert with the occasional oasis. What I see instead is a carnival, with all kinds of strange and unexpected things in every direction... and even when I don't get the ping-pong ball in the fishbowl, there's someone I love pulling me off to the ferris wheel for another adventure; and sometimes I win a prize.