I am a published writer of the lowest calibre. I have some science fiction novels published on Amazon, and I write because I absolutely love to use my imagination to create new worlds, and new stories. In all honesty, I hate, absolutely hate sharing my writing experience with people, because there’s only one thing that comes out of it. Actually, two things. People either ask me if I have made money from my books yet, which really taint the whole experience of sharing my joy with people.
And/or, they ask me if I could read one of their short stories or novels or the first chapter of their book. It’s actually hilarious to me, because the reason they give for it, is that you seem like someone who is a doer, and I need someone who’s going to actually do what I ask them to do. Most other people in their life are not like that. They cannot be asked to do something like this, because they are too lazy or unfocused or unmotivated to comply.
Okay, so I think to myself, because I am motivated, and I am getting shit done, you are going to dump more shit on my head? Wow, what an ironic twist of situation.
My Time Is Already All Assigned – Don’t Come To Me With More Stuff
Besides, my family, and a couple of my friends, no one else on this planet is allowed to come to me with more to-do items. My free time, as limited as it is, is my own, to do with what I want. In fact, all of my time, all of the 168 hours that I have this week and every other week forthcoming, are all booked up with things that I want to do.
There is just no extra time left over. People always come to me and say, “I know you are really busy, but if you have a few minutes to spare here or there, could you take a look at something for me?” Umm, no, I cannot. Sorry. I can’t.
I cut them off right away, because my hours are all accounted for, and they are all assigned to a myriad number of creative projects, most of which are private and that I don’t speak about with other people. So, no, I don’t have the time to help you out, and no, I don’t have even a few minutes to spare.
I absolutely hate it, despise it, when people presume to tell me that I can find time in my schedule for their stuff. All of a sudden, you are a bigger expert on my schedule, and you can presume to tell me that yes, I can find 15 or 30 minutes to work on your shit? Please get out of my life if you are going to be like that.
Don’t Make Me Feel Guilty For Spending My Time As I Want
We live in an interesting culture right now. For some reason, people assume that if you are not spending time, doing things all the time, being busy, and rushing around, then you must not be stressed, and you must have a lot of free time on your hands.
Uh, no. So eff off.
But seriously, do you know how many moments I have to spend in mindful contemplation, self-reflection, journaling, and meditation, to be the serene individual that I am? Do you know how much I have to work at my creative projects, so that I can be prolific, yet not bored with it?
It takes a lot of ‘work’, sitting around, chilling, thinking, planning, analyzing, reflecting, writing, and more, in order to be a creative person. But of course, most people look at my schedule and they see chunks of ‘sitting around’ time, or ‘free time’, and of course, their first instinct is to fill it up. With their shit.
“You are not doing anything. You can do stuff for me. I mean, you are just sitting around reading or writing anyways.” My parents used to do that to me a lot. They would overfill their lives, because they couldn’t sit still, and then they would try to overfill my life as well. They would think I was being a lazy good-for-nothing, because I was taking some time to be myself, to relax, and to be creative.
“Why are you wasting your life away,” they would ask?
I would retort,”Why are you running away your life?”
I Didn’t Write 7 Science Fiction Novels In 2.5 Years By Saying Yes To Everyone
Okay, so this is a big one for me. And I wrote a blog post previously about learning how to say ‘No’. This word, ‘No’, is the most important word out there, in any dictionary, and in any language.
Most of us have this weird thing about saying ‘No’. And it’s not just about saying ‘No’. It’s about saying things like the following:
I cannot. I don’t want to. I don’t have to. Please don’t message me. Please don’t call me. Please stop asking me to do things for you. And so on.
These are all just iterations of the word ‘No’. I noticed in my own life, once I got used to the idea of saying ‘No,’ I would say ‘No’ to almost every single thing.
There are very few things that I say ‘Yes’ to now. In fact, if it’s not in my agenda or in my plan, and if it doesn’t align with my mission, then I say ‘No’ to it, no matter how much FOMO hits me, and no matter how much everyone else begs me to do something. It’s not possible, my friends. I cannot do it. I wish, I could, but I cannot.
Love Your Time – You Have So Few Seconds Left
Love every second that you are alive. I think this is a lesson that I learned far too late. In fact, I used to hate every second that I was alive, because I would be bored, or it wasn’t moving fast enough, or it was just so ornery.
But, now, even if I am just sitting around doing something that really irks me, like getting a haircut, or buying soap, I still try my hardest to love the moment.I am 34 now. I have almost lived half my life. Click To Tweet
When I put it into those terms, when I stop lying to myself about living forever, when I start realizing that I am going to die soon, saying ‘Hell No’ becomes so easy.
I have no issues at all now about saying ‘No’. It is the easiest word in the English language for me. I love saying it. I know every single time, I say the word ‘No’, I’m respecting myself, I am giving myself more time to do the work I want to do, and I am loving myself in the process.
Every single time, I say ‘Yes’ to something that is not aligned with my mission, I feel drained, annoyed, negative, and wasted. It makes me realize that every single time I am saying ‘Yes’ to something wrong, I am telling myself I am not worthy. I am basically hating myself in those moments. ‘You are not worthy to live a life that you want, Boom,” I tell myself subtly, but cruelly by saying ‘Yes’ to things I hate.
People Are Trained Very Easily Not To Come To You With Crap
A lot of people message me asking me how to get over feeling bad for saying ‘No’. The reality is that people are trained very easily and quickly, once they realize your typical answer is going to be ‘No’.
In the beginning, of course, when I meet a new person, I warn them that I have very little time for nonsense, and “No, I cannot come over to do stupid things with you in your house or a club or a bar or a restaurant, so stop inviting me, and never message me nonsense.”
They don’t get it at first. They think I am joking. Oh well, the joke’s on them, because I am deathly serious.
But, as time goes on, and I keep on saying, “No, I cannot. Sorry I will not,” they get used to the idea that I am not going to do these things with them, and they eventually stop asking me. Phew! Thank God for that.
Some people take offence to it, and run away. They break off our friendship. That’s okay with me. I don’t need friends who disrespect my time. But, there are others who get it, who respect me for it, and who stick around. They know that I am not saying, ‘No forever and ever’, but I am saying ‘No’ to certain things.
There are times when my work is finished, and I have time, and I go out. I am not a complete ascetic.
But, the point is that I wish to do these things on my term, not on someone else’s terms. This is my time and I want to spend it in the way that I want to spend it, without being guilted into doing stupid things.
I Never Regret Saying ‘No’, But I Do Regret Saying ‘Yes’
There have been occasions when someone has been extremely adamant that I come out to an event. I end up sitting there thinking to myself, “What the hell am I doing here?” I leave right away, of course, not wanting to waste any more time. Especially on something that’s obviously not suited to me.
If I lose a ‘friend’ in the process, then all the more better. They won’t bug me with nonsense anymore.
There is this weird thing in society right now where are all so afraid to be alone. In order to not be alone, we spend a lot of time doing stupid things, and crazy things that we would never otherwise even attempt doing. Why do we do that to ourselves?
What is the big deal with being alone? I don’t get it myself. I don’t mind being alone. In fact, if that means that I can be alone and work on my projects, all the more better. I would rather be the most alone person on this planet, then be surrounded by crazy people who don’t respect my time or my boundaries, and who want me to do things that I don’t care about with them.
As I prioritize my life, my creative work is always paramount to me. Nothing else matters more. Nothing else. Not relationships. Not friendships. Not love. Not stuff. Not family. Nothing!
Even though, I love my family a lot, they are major time-sucks, and they are always trying to get me to do things that I don’t really want to do. I love them, but I have had to set up a lot of boundaries with them, in order to be able to do my work.
At The End Of My Life, I Want To Look Back With Pride, Not Disappointment
I don’t know if you have ever done this exercise where you pretend you have died and your friends and family are at your funeral. My main learning from that exercise has been that I don’t get pleasure or pride from anything else, except my creative work. Nothing else gives me so much joy and so much happiness.
When I think about my time here on this planet ending, all I want to focus on is my creative work. I know that if I spend the rest of my limited time here on the stuff that matters to me (not to anyone else), then I will have no regrets. No disappointment in myself.
Time is nonrefundable. It truly is. I cannot get back my 34 years now. All of those moments wasted doing stupid things. All because I wanted to be nice or have friends or be kind or not rock the damn boat. It makes me want to punch something in frustration. Such a waste. Such a freaking waste. No more. I am not doing that to my precious time anymore. I refuse. I absolutely freaking refuse.
It doesn’t matter if I am alone for the rest of my life, with no friends, family, or acquaintances. I don’t give a rat’s ass. I just want to live in peace. Really, I want to be at peace with myself.No hating myself for wasting my time anymore. No more of that bullshit. I'm sick of it. Click To Tweet
Every Moment Ask Yourself If You Are Spending Your Time Wisely
This is an exercise I do on a moment-by-moment basis. Every single moment, whenever I become aware, I ask myself, is this how I want to be spending my limited time on this planet. Is this how I want to live? Is this how I want to be remembered?
It’s such an important question to ask. If we aren’t aware in the moments if we are spending our time wisely, we are going to look back upon it at the end of the day, week, or month, and think, “Oh shit, I really shouldn’t have said ‘Yes’ to that. I really wasted a bunch of hours on nonsense.”
Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t let yourself sit in a pool of dirty regret. It’s not fun. Cold, dank, and depressing. I would rather be free and out there.
Every moment, I ask myself, “Am I good? Is this good? This the right way to spend my time?” If the answer is yes to all questions, I keep on going. If it isn’t, I leave as soon as I can. Relationships be damned. If they really loved and appreciated me, they would let me go without any questions and without any retribution.
Isn’t time the only resource that we have left anymore that we have absolute control over? As the Stoics say, “Even our bodies aren’t ours anymore. Anyone can trap us any moment. But our choices, our mind, and our time, it is our own.”