One of the biggest roadblocks we experience in trying to work with ourselves and understand ourselves is thinking that we missed the boat. People like to say that they should have done X 5 years ago or Y 10 years ago. And yeah, sure, you could have done anything any amount of years ago.
If I started playing guitar at age 2, would I be a good guitarist now? Probably. But I know lots of good guitarists who are drug addicts and can’t get out of bed. Just because we fantasize about the goals we could have set in the past doesn’t mean that achieving those goals would have made us any happier.
In fact, the thought process that leads us to think that achieving goals alone is what makes us happy is exactly the type of thinking that makes us unhappy.
If you feel compelled to do something right now, and it’s not going to physically harm you, why not devote your full attention to it? If you want to paint, go paint. If you want to walk your dog, go walk your dog. People who worry about skill or about “allocating their time valuably” usually never acquire skill or real value, because they’re too busy judging themselves to do anything with any persistence. That’s why there are so many people running around all day doing nothing, doing jobs that don’t do anything to improve the world— just to feel busy.
We have to be patient with ourselves. If you want to plant a tree, plant a tree. You could have planted it 20 years ago, but right now is not 20 years ago. So stop worrying. Just plant the tree.