I spoke recently about how busy life gets for me. That post didn't even get into the nitty-gritty details of how many things I'm juggling daily. Along with my brand new blog and aspirations to become a bonafide novelist, I have a full-time job. I'm in school full-time. I'm planning a friends' bachelor party. It's a grind just tracking all of the obligations. Plus, I have the habit of being exceptionally hard on myself, which leaves no room for half-assing. Not on one thing. Ever.
Part of my self-critical nature is the classic writer's mentality of never being satisfied with anything I've done. There's always room for improvement. I know that for sure. The other aspect of that mentality might come from growing up in Massachusetts, where the Protestant value system is deeply ingrained. A value system that places hard work above all else. I'm not sure. I just know that, in my mind, there's no problem that hard work can't solve. Confirmation bias for this mindset probably comes from my weight-loss and fitness journey.
Am I doing myself a disservice thinking this way? What are the potential downsides of approaching life this way? Do they outweigh the benefits? When I walked out of my house Saturday without even realizing that the sun had set, I began to wonder. Somehow I had let a 53 degree February day in New England pass without even enjoying the weather. Or noticing at all. I was so wrapped up in homework, blogging, reaching my word count goal (which I crushed) that I forgot to take the time to appreciate the little things.
I hear it sometimes in my day-to-day life, from people close to me. I'm too focused. I'm too driven. Hearing those things about myself doesn't make sense sometimes. In my head I'm still a 278 lbs. teenager, loafing around with my friends rather than producing anything substantial. In my head, I can't shake the image of myself as a loser. Which is why I am pushing so hard -- to get as far away from that version of myself as possible. The further and faster the better. Though, it's dawning on me that, in doing so, I might be sacrificing an essential part of life.
There's not much I can offer up as far as answers for dealing with it all that people haven't heard before. Everybody is stretched thin. Given even less time for solitude and self reflection than ever. Our developing symbiosis with technology aiding that in a huge way. I'm not a unique case in modern society. It seems like life today is all about what you have left to do. The countless things written on calendars and synched to all of our devices to remind us over and over. But I wonder how many people are taking the time to appreciate what they've done. Time to appreciate the people they did it with. Time to appreciate the simple fact that they are alive and able to chase their dreams.
I want this blog post to serve as inspiration to all you dream-chasers out there to take time to reflect, recover, and appreciate yourself and everyone around you that lifts you up. Without them, it would be impossible for us to lift our faces from the screens long enough to catch the sun setting on the life you used to lead before you made the decision to pour your heart and soul into achieving the one thing that makes you feel like it's all worthwhile.