If you are passionately interested by and fascinated in one thing, count it a blessing. It must be fabulous to know exactly what you want to pursue in life, what you want to study and perfect and practice. There is so much for me. How will I ever devote enough time to all of it? It seems I have already wasted so much time when I could have been learning. Perhaps this is what makes me a workaholic: this need to spend every moment pursuing an interest for fear that I will never be able to pursue them all.
It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Movies are an interest for me. Reading is a passion. Writing is a love. Listening to music is a necessity. Those are all quiet, relaxing things. It’s not like I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off. But there are five languages I want to learn, a whole world of places I want to see, horses to ride, theatre to attend, culinary arts to master, books to write, pictures to take, acrobatic arts to practice, flying licenses to earn, degrees to pursue… And throughout it all, I still have to get sleep and make money somehow.
This is why I struggle to sit still. I mean that metaphorically of course – I can sit still for hours on end while plowing through a great piece of literature or losing myself in a historical biopic. But to spend time doing nothing is difficult when there is so much to be done. Combining interests and needs is always helpful. That’s why I’m always thrilled to work in the entertainment field (money and a passion wrapped into one!) or to cook a gourmet dinner (experience and a satisfied tummy at once!) or even to read a book while on the train (getting where I need to go while improving my mind!). Sometimes, I pretend that sleeping is a strong interest of mine in order to feel better about spending ten hours in bed now and then. I recently decided I should take up embroidery. Seriously. Not only is it pretty and a helpful skill for someone interested in costume design, but then I could be making something while watching a movie, using my hands, eyes, and mind! That’s what my excited brain said to me. I live my life as though I have a very limited collection of stones to throw at an entire flock of birds.
I fear running out of time and never experiencing or learning something I always wanted to learn. I had to make myself a list of things I will still be able to do after I’m 70 the other day, just to ease my mind. To prioritize. I can learn Swahili when I’m 70, so maybe that’s a desire to set aside for now in favor of learning hand-balancing. This is how my mind works. I’m a very organized person. Lists, prioritization, and time management are the keys to success and peace in my life. Just in case you couldn’t tell already.
My host recently commented on the fact that I seem to always be on my laptop or phone. It wasn’t something I enjoyed hearing, because I’ve always shied away from being dependent on technology, constantly staring at a screen in my hand. But I thought about it and realized why it was so: when we sit in the kitchen chatting, I feel a need to be multi-tasking. To simply pass time with conversation doesn’t seem a full utilization of my resources. My mind scans through options for something I can simultaneously do with my hands, and messaging friends or posting a photo on Instagram is an easy and readily available solution. I find myself watching TV or movies while ironing, cooking, sitting in the shop… Because I can. Because then I’m completing two tasks at once. Because I need to. Even simple things such as braiding my hair or trimming my nails can be accompanied by an episode of Big Bang Theory and a few chuckles.
Am I crazy? As I write this, I feel a little crazy. Obsessive, perhaps. There’s a quote from Charles Darwin: “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” I guess that’s my philosophy. Granted, I think the definition of wasted time is different for everyone, so what I may consider wasted time in my own life could be time well spent for someone else. Perhaps I should learn to waste a little time and not feel guilty about it though. Or perhaps I should carry on exactly as I am, using every second to its fullest potential to pursue my interests. Perhaps I should master the art of successfully focusing on three tasks at one time.
Thank goodness I can pretend sleep is a passion.