A person’s lifetime really can be measured as the blink of an eye when compared to the infinity of time. The sprouting of flowers in springtime, the briny air blowing in off the ocean as you walk along a warm sandy beach, and the freshness of a cool, crisp winter’s day remind us that the clock is ticking season by season, minute by minute, second by second, breath by breath.

We say we’ll learn to play the piano or take gourmet cooking lessons next year, or start traveling after the kids have moved out. But the time to do all those things is now.

The characters in the novels we write don’t wait. They lead exciting lives on approximately three-hundred and fifty pages. They meet, have that first passionate kiss, fall in love, and share their dreams. And the amazing thing is that this is occurring while they’re being shot at, dealing with a family illness, or battling otherworldly creatures. They find ways to overcome their conflicts and internal struggles.

We can all learn something from the characters we bring to life in print. Things like allowing our mistakes to make us stronger, taking chances, and most importantly letting go of the pains of the past. Pains that hold us down and keep us from believing the stars are even reachable.

Now, you might be saying wait a minute, my novel is fiction, real life is so much harder. I have all these obligations. Everyone is counting on me. There are only so many hours in a day. Well, you’re right. Life is a complicated thing. The key is not to let its headaches consume you to the point that the things that are important to you get lost in the fire. Learn to flow with time.

So I challenge you to search your heart to discover what’s important to you, then do something you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time. It doesn’t have to be anything major. Learn to paint breathtaking landscapes, make a pledge to yourself to walk more, or allow the serenity of yoga or meditation to soothe your inner spirit. Me, I’ve always wanted to do the Susan G. Koman 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk and have made a commitment to train so I can participate in 2010.

What would you like to do? Write and share it with me.

30 comments

  1. Mary Marvella // March 2, 2009 at 1:03 AM  

    A thought provoking post, Pam.

    Interesting question. I spent years devoting myself to my family, only to realize I should have done more for myself. I'm going to an expensive convention because it will give me pleasure and I need to have some good old Linda and Mary "partners in crime" fun.

    We don't see each other often. It's also about networking. Might just try to self publish a book that doesn't seem "ready for Prime Time" or the New York publishing world.

  2. Tami Brothers // March 2, 2009 at 6:14 AM  

    Wow, very enlightening. I honestly feel this way and have to remind myself to live each day for today and not only for tomorrow.

    It's very hard, especially when you have all these plans. Thanks for giving me that extra push and a really cool reminder.

    Best of luck with your 3 day walk. That sounds very interesting.

    Tami Brothers

  3. Nicki Salcedo // March 2, 2009 at 7:22 AM  

    Pam, this is a nice encouragement to seize the day. (You can't see it but I'm standing on my desk!)

    I used to save gifts people gave me for special occasions. Then I realized I an a pantry full of wine and bathroom full of lovely bath scents and lotions.

    Now when I get stuff, I use it immediately! Thanks for reminding us to flow with time :)

  4. Cinthia Hamer // March 2, 2009 at 8:13 AM  

    Very good post, Pam. Years ago, when my father passed away, I had an epiphany about living life to the fullest and not waiting for "someday". My dad lived a life of constant waiting...and consequently died without having done many of the things he'd wanted to do. I think he regretted it.

    I realized that every day is precious, a gift that shouldn't be squandered, but savored and cherished.

    Sadly, real life often intrudes and there are days I wish I could just fast forward through because they've been painful.

    But then, it hits me that without the pain, we don't appreciate the pleasure and happiness that is given to us.

    In my latest book, I've got characters who are struggling with this very issue. They realize they wasted valuable time waiting when they could have been experiencing something magical. It's only after a crisis that they fully appreciate all that they have.

  5. Edie // March 2, 2009 at 9:18 AM  

    Terrific post! I plan on learning how to play the harmonica! I've always loved the blues riffs the harmonica players do. I've been sticking close to him lately, but I'm going to buy one soon.

  6. Dianna Love // March 2, 2009 at 11:15 AM  

    I love your point about the "characters in our novels" don't wait. So why should we? I'm a firm believer in going for something you want to do and not wasting time thinking about all the reasons you either can't or feel not worthy of that opportunity. Anyone should do anything whenever they want. It's like the point you make - just a matter of how much you want to do it.

    The only quote in my office that is on an old piece of paper is by Goethe - "Nothing is worth more than today." I live by that.

    Kudos on training for the 3 Day walk. Great post.

  7. Anonymous // March 2, 2009 at 11:19 AM  

    Pam,

    I know this walk has been your dream for several years. Go for it, girl.

    My challenge to myself is to learn to swim. I'm deathly afraid of being in the water higher than my waist. Someday I'll learn. I might be ninety, but I'll get there.

    As far the rest of your message, I honestly can say I treasure each day and try to make the most of it.

    Connie Gillam

  8. Nicki Salcedo // March 2, 2009 at 11:29 AM  

    Connie, my mom learned to swim in her sixties and now it is her favorite pass time. I think it is liberating to take on new challenges and find joy in it.

  9. Cyrano // March 2, 2009 at 12:09 PM  

    Wonderful post, Pam.

    If I'm honest I should say I like to procrastinate. I do it all the time. Especially in my writing. I stay away from the computer because I'm so intimidated. What if my writing stinks? What if It doesn't make sense or it's boring? What if I'm never published?
    My goal is to get over it already! Write my stories and don't worry if they're not perfect...because no matter what, they never will be.
    Well written Pam!
    Enjoyed every word.
    Stay warm everyone,
    tamara

  10. Sutton Fox // March 2, 2009 at 2:04 PM  

    I spent the first part of my life watching others having adventure and thinking it just wasn’t ‘meant’ for me. I spent a lot of time with characters in novels because their lives were far more exciting than mine.

    It wasn’t until I was faced with a life or death situation, I finally realized the responsibility was mine. The power to make my life what I wanted it to be, lived inside me, and I couldn’t lay the success or failure of it at anyone’s feet but my own.

    One dream I held close to my heart was to write a romance novel and have it published. Only a few short weeks ago, I finally held a copy of my first book in my hands. It may not be an award winner, and I’m sure there are people who like it, and others who may think it isn’t very good. And I’m okay with that, because it doesn’t have anything to do with them or what they might think. It’s about working toward my goal, step by frustrating step, for years, and finally reaching that singular moment in time. I cried like a baby when my thirty-year old dream came true. And it was wonderful.

    Excellent post, Pam. Best of luck training for the 3 day. Go for it! You have the power to make it happen.

    Twyla

  11. Scarlet Pumpernickel // March 2, 2009 at 5:09 PM  

    Pam, you hit the nail right on the head girl. As a parent we tend to put our needs, wants and wishes aside to help our children. It is startling to wake up one morning and realize the kids are grown and out enjoying their lives doing their own thing while we sit back and allow life to pass us by. Not me! Not any longer. I plan to reach out and grab every adventure that comes my way. Making plans for RWA National and for another trip to Europe as soon as school is out!

  12. Mary Ricksen // March 2, 2009 at 5:32 PM  

    That's exactly why I started writing seriously, I wanted to be proud of something I had done.

  13. Pamela Varnado // March 2, 2009 at 5:35 PM  

    Twayla,
    I'm excited about your writing success. You're living proof that dreams do come true if we hang in there long enough.

    Where can I buy a copy of your book?

  14. Pamela Varnado // March 2, 2009 at 5:41 PM  

    Mary,
    It's easy to allow the needs of others to overshadow our own. I'm glad that you finally realized how important being kind to yourself is.

  15. Judy // March 2, 2009 at 5:44 PM  

    Pam, what a wonderful post. It was a good reminder to live each day fully, which I try to do. I've had a heck of a ride so far and want to continue to keep it going. By the way, I did the 3-day Walk for Breast Cancer in Boston with my niece. It was one of the hardest, most rewarding times I've ever had. I still get tears in my eyes when I think of sharing some of those moments with other women, most of whom I didn't know. It was a spiritual adventure for sure. Go for it!

  16. Pamela Varnado // March 2, 2009 at 5:46 PM  

    Tami,
    Thanks for commenting on my blog. We all need a reminder every now and then about how important it is to embrace life.

  17. Pamela Varnado // March 2, 2009 at 5:51 PM  

    Nicki,
    Good for you. Some people spend a lifetime saving the Good Stuff. I've never understood why. Like you I use every wonderful gift at the time I receive it. I even turn the occasion into a celebration. Candlelight baths are my very favorite.

  18. Pamela Varnado // March 2, 2009 at 5:55 PM  

    Cinthia,
    Like your father, my brother died without following his dreams. He was thirty and a part of me feel that he never got to really enjoy life. My heart clenches every time I think of it.

  19. Pamela Varnado // March 2, 2009 at 5:56 PM  

    Edie,
    Go for it! Take that harmonica lesson. If we don't strive to reach our dreams we end up only with regrets.

  20. Pamela Varnado // March 2, 2009 at 6:00 PM  

    Dianna,
    Living one day at a time is a great way to ensure that you constantly live in the moment. You learn to savor every second and realize how precious time is. I have a plaque on my desk that says Never, never, never give up. I look at it whenever I'm feeling low or wondering if I'll ever get published.

  21. Pamela Varnado // March 2, 2009 at 6:10 PM  

    Tamara,
    Didn't you know that procrastination and perfectionalism are best friends? Both of them have kept from reaching my dreams in the past. But not anymore. Make a commitment to yourself to let go of the outcome and just enjoy the writing process.

  22. Pamela Varnado // March 2, 2009 at 6:14 PM  

    Connie,
    I'm happy that you cherish each day. Learning to swim is a great way to challenge yourself. It'll mean taking your feet off solid ground, but the outcome is so rewarding. Dive in and go for it. There's no age limit on living life to the fullest.

  23. Pamela Varnado // March 2, 2009 at 6:16 PM  

    Scarlet,
    Way to go, girlfriend. Keep being good to yourself. Plan those trips and take lots of pictures. Where are you traveling to next?

  24. Pamela Varnado // March 2, 2009 at 6:17 PM  

    Mary,
    Finding something that you can be proud of is very good for the self-esteem. And if we aren't kind to ourselves who else will be.

  25. Pamela Varnado // March 2, 2009 at 6:21 PM  

    Judy,
    Thanks for sharing your 3-day experience with us. It's something I've wanted to do for a few years now, but I had the grandkids and couldn't train or be away so long. Now that my daughter is back from Afghanistan I have no more excuses. I'm excited about doing the walk and know that it will make me a stronger and more enlightened person, not to mention thankful.

  26. Barbara Monajem // March 2, 2009 at 6:22 PM  

    So true, Pam. Once I had accumulated some regrets, I realized I had to throw off my fears, get moving and do something that really mattered to me. And then keep moving! Sometimes it's hard to keep on striving and changing for the better, but it's always worth the effort.

  27. Scarlet Pumpernickel // March 2, 2009 at 7:39 PM  

    Pam,
    Had so much fun last year that I talked the DH into going this year! We are taking the granddaughter as well! The cruise line we use lets children 17 and under cruise free! We are flying to Barcelona where we will embark on MSC Fantasia. It is a new ship just christened in December. We were on the MSC Musica last summer and had a ball! We love MSC Cruise line! It is sooooooooooo Italian! This year ports will be Barcelona, Spain then France, Italy. I can't wait! Spending the children's inheritance is so much fun! LOL

    Scarlet

  28. Nightingale // March 2, 2009 at 8:40 PM  

    Pam, that was an absolutely inspiring post and beautifully penned. Made me stop and look at the clock. I want to learn to play the piano, have one, haven't tried to find a teacher. Thanks for the headsup.

  29. Romily Bernard // March 3, 2009 at 9:02 PM  

    Oh my gosh this one hit close to home. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the little day to day crap that you forget the dreams you put on the backburner. Such a good post.

  30. Beth Trissel // March 3, 2009 at 11:06 PM  

    Wonderfully inspiring post and so true.