Spoiler alert: you can’t…
This is my first post in a while, because I have been attempting to do ALL THE THINGS and have inevitably only accomplished SOME OF THE THINGS and something’s gotta give.
Prioritizing has always been an issue for me. (See Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C.) I’m not sure if it’s my indecisiveness, my FOMO, the way my brain has a tendency to go in 25 different directions on any given day, or what.
But it’s a problem.
As a rule, I try and follow this life lesson:
Pick 3 things you want. If any of these conflict with one another, that’s a problem.
I can’t remember where I read this, but it’s made sense to me. My 3 things are and have always been:
- I want to be as healthy as I can (mentally and physically)
- I want to have good, close relationships with the people I love and see them as often as I can.
- I want to be a writer.
These things don’t necessarily conflict with each other; but they do in some ways conflict with all the next-best things I want and am working towards at the moment, which are:
- I want a steady income (which I have, yet my current job saps away my time for friends and writing, ad also affects my mental energy and occasionally my health)
- I want a beautiful wedding (the planning of which is sapping away my writing time + the anxiety over whether or not it will go well is bringing me stress, which is affecting my health)
- I want a freelance career (so I don’t need a steady paycheck anymore, yet attempting to establish said career given my limited time is also bringing me stress + taking away my book-writing time)
- I want a beautiful home (which right now is an apartment which I’m still attempting to properly decorate but someday we’re going to have to start figuring out where to buy a house and all that fun stuff, which is time-consuming)
- I want to improve the world (by getting more involved in politics + donating a percentage of my income to people who need it. Which requires time + that steady income I wanted so I can always give)
So right now I am: working 45-50 hour weeks, interviewing for other full-time jobs because mine has really started to blow, attempting to finish my second novel, working with 2 critique partners on their manuscripts, planning a wedding, working with 2 freelance clients, planning to start a business with a friend of mine, trying to lose weight before said wedding by exercising + meal planning, trying to redecorate my apartment, trying to still make time for nights out with friends, trying to get involved in local politics … is that all? Oh, trying to keep up with this blog. And plan a future that will involve a house and children at some point.
All of these are worthwhile pursuits.
But I’m exhausted.
That’s when I have to remind myself of the other life lesson I’ve taken to heart:
“Take what you want and pay for it.”
I’ve written about my favorite book of all time before, because there are so many things to love about it, but this remains the most pertinent to me:
“Regardless of what the advertising campaigns may tell us, we can’t have it all. Sacrifice is not an option, or an anachronism; it’s a fact of life. We all cut off our own limbs to burn on some altar. The crucial thing is to choose an altar that’s worth it and a limb you can accept losing. To go consenting to the sacrifice.”
I think I’ve lost sight of this in the past few months. For some reason, I thought, I can have it all if I just TRY HARDER.
But I can’t. I can have some things. But that means giving up other things.
So what can I give up?
Writing this all out has (as usual) given me clarity.
Right now, the idea of quitting my job and not getting another full-time one has never been more appealing. I have some other small income sources at the moment, I think I could get more if I just had more time to find them, and if not, I have some savings to fall back on. It would give me time to write, plan, exercise, freelance, sleep.
But I’m afraid.
I’m afraid of the loss of income. Afraid of the loss of structure. Afraid of the opinions of my parents, my peers. Afraid of what the future without a full-time job will look like. Afraid I would be making a horrible mistake.
There’s no conclusion to this post. I don’t know what I should do, or what I’m going to do.
I know you may not know me and it’s a decision I need to make for myself, but I’m desperate, so: what do you think?
Image of how I feel right now (like a lost little girl thinking real hard or maybe on the verge of bursting into tears) found here