We only get one life to live.
I understand that now. For too long, I thought I had to write every day to be a writer, or reach a minimum word count. I sacrificed my family to pursue it. You know what? It's not worth the sacrifice, no matter how big the dream. When you're young, it seems like nothing is happening, despite the small steps. But at some point, you realize all that you missed. Then it's time to play catch-up in a different way.
Don't go through life with blinkers on. (Blinkers are the flaps on a driving bridle that keep the horse from seeing what's behind him and might frighten him.) Like that horse that only can see ahead instead of everything around him, you'll be missing out on many things. Rather, be willing to deviate and make adjustments.
I've learned that I don't have to write every day to be a writer or to reach a goal. I'll get there in the end, but I don't have to race ahead on only one focus. I've learned to deviate when I need to and can always return to the path I left after exploring the path I didn't see because of the proverbial blinkers I used to wear. I've done that in writing a couple of books now--breaking from one project somewhere in the middle to go off on another--and I've learned that it tends to work out for the best. I've also decided not to force myself to write if I'm not in the mood. There are plenty of other things going on around me, especially with my family. When I lock myself up with the computer, I shut them out and I shut myself out of their lives.
We only get one life. Take advantage of ALL that it has to offer. Don't die with the regrets of what dreams you don't accomplish. Rather, live so that in the end, you are fulfilled by the richness you discovered by being willing to take a different path than what you thought you wanted.
(It took feeling like I was going to lose my life as I knew it to realize this.)