It came when I got my master's degree.
The thing is, all I ever wanted to do was write. It was one of those all-consuming obsessions. I was writing and illustrating stories by the time I was seven. Going to young authors' conferences in the fourth grade. I studied English in college, racking up a few small publications in some journals along the way.
When I graduated, Mom encouraged me to stay home and devote full-time effort to my writing. I figured (foolishly) that it would take a year or so to write a book, I'd sell it, and I'd be off and running.
Long story short, I graduated in '01. I sold my first book in '09. Seven and a half years. And never, not once, did she get discouraged. I did. Around the four-year mark, I had a make-or-break time when I could have packed it in. But I didn't--to a great extent, because she still thought I'd find success, if I just hung in there.
So I did.
In '01, I got the gift of time. Time to chase a dream, to follow my heart. It didn't come with any kind of limit.
It's made all the difference.
And so I'm paying it forward in a small way. You who are reading this post, I am giving you an hour. One hour to do something that you've been pushing to the back burner--whatever that is. To draw the picture you've got in your mind, to get that melody you've been humming down on paper.
Or something else--an hour to call the friend you haven't been in touch with. An hour to write a letter.
An hour to read in quiet.
An hour to tackle the attic that needs cleaning.
An hour to change your hair.
An hour to finish the DIY project in the garage.
An hour to do whatever it is you most want to do.
One, delicious hour.
Don't push it off. Don't say you don't have the time.
You have the time. I just gave it to you. An hour. Go ahead--push everything aside.