“Do you run every day?”
“What are you volunteering for now?”
“You’re the busiest person I know.”
Such missives constantly come at me from my pals, and almost always are met with a defensive response. It’s funny: I don’t ever feel too busy. In fact, I feel quite idle, and often. There’s always something to do/read/make/visit/fix/explore/learn/discover. At the same time, I freak out (again, quite often) that there’s never enough time (ah, priorities) to do everything. It’s not just a matter of ticking things off my life’s master list but rather diving into the projects and interests and people with which I am eager to engage. And, it’s not that I can’t sit still. I just prefer to keep moving and gettin’ it done. (Debilitating inertia coupled with serious depression made up a sorry, uncomfortable slice of my former life. Even though I embraced it for what it was – keeping still to save me from myself – I don’t want to repeat that state of affairs. Ever.)
So I put it out there. That was one of the main reasons for moving away from my sleepy little fishbowl on Cali’s Central Coast to get busy, really busy, and connected with more people and projects who are my people and projects, and make it happen. (Whatever it is.) The real challenge is not being able to decide on the myriad of options presented daily in my chosen Pacific Northwestern metropolis. From music to art to lit to sports to community ventures to culinary delights to vast cultural and not-so-cultural pursuits of all sorts, I’ve never had so much freedom of choice. (Or, actually, been bombarded with such a tyranny of choice. Sometimes it’s annoying.)
But I slack, too, spending too much time on the Interwebs and not enough time absorbing that ever-growing stack of New Yorkers. My crack-whore house remodel was projected to take two years, tops – eight years later, I still have just a bare light bulb hanging from the kitchen ceiling. (Keepin’ it real/ghetto). Cool volunteer opps come my way but those that aren’t totally aligned with my core values still manage to sneak into the line up. Too many coffee dates. Too many lunches. People! I want/need to get stuff done, and get itchy from the not doing.
The B-side of this is, of course, that I feel incredibly UNambitious, and often. That feeling usually washes over me upon reading the glossy alumni journal from my elite alma mater. Girls are doing projects across the globe that help, save, invent all to truly make a difference, and do. These are the girls who secured high school summer internships at the UN and now get book deals and exciting jobs upon graduation. Me? I worked in a donut shop (but it’s the Jonathan Gold critically acclaimed SoCal hub for all doughy goodness that is fried and sugared!). Backpacked for weeks at a time. Mowed lawns. Read books. I wasn’t out saving the world, but had a great time, learned some life lessons, enjoyed tremendous freedom. Even though, sometimes I really feel I missed something.
Not missed something missed something. But it baffles me why I didn’t volunteer in those days, or intern at the UN, or start a nonprofit, or work for the rights of others, or dig new trails. I certainly have that drive and have always had that interest/energy. But for some weird reason, I just didn’t have the impetus to make it happen, at least like that, then.
So, I do it now. My life is constructed with balance in mind, a balance that I hope continues to embrace my go for it approach. When I first got to town, I made a pact with myself to do anything for an hour. And, I did. Showed up for events alone (very uncomfortable for someone quite like me), stepped up to boldly engage strangers in conversation (ditto), observed my new environs to get a hit on how I might (best) fit within it. That MO certainly wasn’t a waste of my time – it served me well on many fronts. The current game is to cut away the stuff that truly does waste my time so there’s more energy to spend on the people and projects that matter to me.
I know how I fit in the landscape, at least for now. It’s not taking a Saturday afternoon nap or watching tv, but printing out table toppers for a book release party. I’m tired, or maybe just lazy, and the couch with the dog and the tea and that book look quite inviting, but I know the book release party is gonna be a blast and I’m more excited for the featured author’s time in the spotlight than I am for taking it easy.
Tonight, I’m busy.