Do you always feel like you need to be accomplishing a thousand things at once too?
It’s a Type A thing, I know. If you believe in that sort of classification, which I’m not entirely sure I do (come on, there are more than two types of people out there. At least give me 12 like the Zodiac and still everyone will be able to find themselves in each one). It can be great, to be motivated and able to fit lots of different kinds of tasks and experiences into one day, one hour, or one life. I’m a jill-of-all-trades by nature, and want to know at least a little about everything, and I’m pretty well suited for it because I know how to get things done.
But sometimes it would be really nice to be able to more effectively turn that trait off. I hit a wall sometimes: there are certain things I try to do every day (work out, practice guitar) and certain things that need doing in a given day (find a venue for our show, call so-and-so about that misunderstanding, pick up groceries) and then the ever-popular, ever-neglected Me Time that I used to get away without having much of and now seem to need more and more of. I’m a talented schedule juggler–one of the best. I can fit 15 tasks into 30 minutes. But even I have trouble doing it all.
When I get to this place, certain things go through my mind. Like nostalgia for “the good old days” that I was never a part of. I’m under the impression that back before the invention of telephones and convenient transportation, people had more time to sit, think, read, invent, paint, play the piano, and most of all write. Of course, these people I think of are mostly the idle rich, but even Chaucer, who had a full time job for the government, still had time to come home and write dirty stories about pilgrims.
Then again, Chaucer was trying to do two things with his life: do his job well and write on the side. From what I know of him, he wasn’t trying to juggle multiple friend groups, to act, to play music, to write in more than two forms (short poems and long verse, which are close enough to the same thing), to get killer Middle Ages abs and to become a chef worthy of a king all at the same time. It’s possible that soon a day will come when I’ll have to decide to narrow my focus so I can get anything of value done at all.
I know, I know, I hear you. The end of the “Jack-of-all-trades” phrase goes “Master of none.” Malcolm Gladwell says you need 10,000 hours of practice at something to be great. Writers don’t need muscles. Except–actors do need muscles, and I’m not ready to commit yet to one or the other. I’m only 24, dammit! Even Cosmo says you shouldn’t get married until age 25 if you want the commitment to last! (Of course, that’s best taken with a brick of salt, as this is the magazine that thinks a fly swatter is a fun sex toy.)
Right now I’m having too much fun trying different things to settle down and do one or two. I’m in sophomore year of life, and while I’ll have to declare my major soon, for now I can take all of the Art History and Pop Culture classes I want. As long as I’m aware that this is probably unsustainable, as long as I know that it’s okay to choose only a couple of things to do and work on, especially if working on a million things is stressing me out–if I remember all of that, things should be okay.
And at the same time, I can realize some other things. That life is both longer and shorter than it seems, and there’s room to do different things in it. That I can have role models like Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer who seem like they’re always trying new, exciting projects. That as long as I put the stuff that’s really important to me first, I will probably find time to get the chores done. Or that if I can ever muster up success, I can hire or marry someone to do those chores for me.
On that note, ladies and fellas, I remain single, so if you’d like to go out some time, I’d be amenable to that. All you’ll need to do is cook me dinner, show me your mopping technique, and put some army corners on my bed.
What can I offer? I’ll write you a song.