In September of 2018, I started reading The Stand by Stephen King. It has 1,168 pages — about thirty pages more than IT.
By December 31st, 2018, I still wasn’t done reading it.
But since I’d been reading it for about three months now (in between other books), I didn’t want to go into the new year without finishing it.
At the beginning of December, I calculated how many pages I’d have to read every day to finish it by the end of the month.
Long story short, I didn’t follow through with my plan. The last day of the year came around, and I still had nearly one hundred pages left to read.
A hundred pages is a lot, even for an avid reader like myself. Plus, I’m not a fast reader.
On any other day, if I’d set a goal to read a hundred pages before I went to sleep, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.
But this time, my back was up against the wall.
If I wanted to read that book — and I really wanted to finish it — I didn’t have a choice but to do it.
Suddenly, though, a hundred pages didn’t seem impossible.
I felt like I could easily finish The Stand. It became my number one priority that day, and all excuses that told me I couldn’t do it went out my mind.
I got to reading.
I still had other things to do — work and get ready for my family’s new year party, but I was going to do it no matter what.
So, I dedicated an hour here and there, and read in the in-between moments, like while I was waiting to use the hair straightener.
When it was time to leave, I took the book to the party. I’d sit on the couch when everyone was having their own conversations, or on the table when I permitted myself to take a break from socializing.
I’d never read so fast in my life. In between games and food and talking, I’d take in page after page.
Eventually, about two hours before midnight, I finished the goddamn book. One hundred pages read on a busy fucking day.
. . .
When people don't have a choice, they always find a way to do what they need
I had this realization the next day.
Say there’s a woman who’s always secretly loved to write. She wants to write a book, but she’s never gotten around to it.
She says she doesn’t have time, that she doesn’t even know where to begin. But — to get morbid here — one day, she’s told she only has one year to live.
All of a sudden, all of her excuses disappear. The next morning, before work, she wakes up an extra hour early and starts writing her book.
Her excuses were never real. They weren’t valid reasons; they were fears in disguise.
When she realized she only had a year to live, no doubt or worry mattered. She made time, and she knew that even if she didn’t know how to write a book, she’d figure it out.
While this is a dramatic story that’s most likely not going to happen to you, there have been a lot of times when we figure out how to do something when we don’t have a choice but to do it.
. . .
You don’t have to wait until your back is against the wall
You can do whatever you’ve dreamed of doing right now. Because if someone told you you had a year to live, you’d find a way to do it.
But you don’t need to have a near-death experience to take risks.
You can choose to make a change right now. You can take the first step today.
Make what you love a priority, and you’ll see you have more time than you thought, you’re more ready than you believed, and you can figure it out even if you know nothing about it.
You can read a hundred pages a day. You canget up at 5:30 before school to paint. You canchoose to become a photographer rather than a lawyer like your parents.
Make the time and find ways to do the things you love. Remember, if you only had a year to live, you’d find a way to do the thing.
So, don’ t say you can’t.
. . .
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Let me know in the comments:
What’s one thing you’ve been putting on the back-burner and are going to start prioritizing?