Some are kept awake by the stresses of their day, a big presentation at work tomorrow, or a fight with a friend. What am I agonizing over in the late hours of the night you ask? I am losing sleep over pondering a little too obsessively over everything I am not doing. Even though a million things are being done, the pondering always veers in the other direction.
It is what causes projects to be perpetually half finished. It can lead to excessive applications to jobs that aren’t remotely interesting, and other obscene things done during regular sleeping hours over lots and lots of stale coffee. I, like many in this post grad life, am so wrapped up in the vortex of commotion and uncertainty that is the excitement of being busy.
You really can’t even call it excitement, because half the time it isn’t exciting at all, it’s downright miserable. It’s that time when you have to be in three places at once, find yourself working 5 jobs, and answering a phone interview while babysitting 4 screaming kids for a little side cash. Then you’re at home wondering how your life wound up like some B list Katherine Heigl ‘I am woman movie’ and everyone else you know is somehow taking advantage of the novel things in life, like weekend trips and lunch dates. And the last thing on the biblical to-do list is to relax because there simply isn’t time.
It’s basically one of the hardest post grad lessons ever, to try to start focusing on something you actually want to do.
A few ways to take it down a notch…or 50
Pick the top three: narrow down the commitments that are most interesting and cut the negative ones.
Say no: after years of saying yes to everything it’s finally time to get a little bit more selective and refined. For example… never buying wine from a gas station again…just say no.
Do something unproductive: read the lame magazines, start a new Netflix show, or cook something that didn’t come out of a freezer. Anything but something that contributes to the growth of your future. Preventing burn out and the impulse to turn to self-help books.
Stay focused: pretty shiny enticing opportunities are always going to be there. Spend time on the ones that make sense. How it will this mesh with life right now.
Lack of focus leads you to jobs that don’t make sense, dead ends, anxiety, and worst of all feeling inadequate. You could have all of the success in the world, but if you are too busy multitasking 500 side projects, the success won’t mean anything at all. It sounds like such an over achiever problem to have, and that’s because it is. Trying new things, a social life, taking weird classes, all of it involved you taking interest in something new and all of it was equally exciting.
When the structure of school is gone and the real world starts creeping into focus, the new focus needs to be creating that structure for yourself. Little did I realize college funded my ability to be absolutely spontaneous, to try anything without totally risking it all, and to do it all at once. Life beyond college demands more of a game plan. It goes against the grain of every Tom Petty quoting 20 something and that’s OKAY seriously, Tom Petty wasn’t trying to say you should forever remain a 13-year-old.
It starts the process of growing up//growing into who you came to be these past four years. While letting go of the constantly filled calendar of events may feel as if your vast range of intellectual interests are being discounted, channeling all of these interests towards a more focused objective makes the process of downsizing an adventure within itself.