A few weeks ago, I met an old friend for lunch and presented him with an “advance” copy of my book. As he flipped through the pages, a smile of disbelief began to creep across his face. “Where did you find the time to do THIS?” he asked, knowing, as only a fellow trial lawyer could, the daily demands of my active law practice and, at least in a general way, the circumstances of our family’s journey over the past several years and my many other familial and professional responsibilities. “On my evening walks,” I replied. A bit surprised, he wondered aloud how that was possible: “You mean you brought a Dictaphone along with you on your walks?” “No,” I said, forced for a moment to reflect on my rather “unconventional” writing methods. “Actually, all I took with me was an idea. Eventually, I would ‘write the chapter in my mind.’ All that was left to do at that point was put it on paper.”
And so it was nearly every day for almost 2 1/2 years – walking and writing and then walking and “editing.” In some cases, a chapter would essentially “write itself” in the span of one or two walks. Others might take a matter of weeks – and, on occasion, months. Regardless of which it was, I grew to love the process and I’ve grown to love walking. I love the lack of distractions, the peacefulness, the opportunity walking affords to be alone with my thoughts. I love the solitude of it all. Looking back, I realize that, in many ways, walking fills the same needs and generates the same emotions that I once derived from carving out time to play 9 holes of golf almost every day after class in college or visiting the local driving range and putting green an hour or two a day in high school. Only this time around, there was far more at stake and a far greater “reward” for my commitment and self-discipline.
The truth is: Whether we realize it or not, there is more than enough time in all of our daily lives, no matter how busy they already might seem, to devote to the things that matter most to us – whether it’s coaching your son’s and/or daughter’s youth league sports teams, spending more quality time with friends, attending and being supportive at school and extracurricular activities, organizing, hosting and/or participating in charity events for causes that are close to our or a loved one’s heart, getting involved (or more involved) in church or community activities, pursuing a passion or avocation other than your chosen means of support (e.g., teaching legal research and writing), reading – or maybe even writing a book. So the next time you find yourself thinking or starting to say, “I wish I had time to ___________,” I encourage you to think again – at least if __________ is truly important to you. If it is, I’m confident you can find the time!