When I can’t give 100%, I’d rather do less and do it better. Only that’s not really true. I don’t want to do less. Do it all and well would make me very happy in a Veruca Salt sort of way. But I’ve learned that it isn’t really possible to live at the same speed as technology moves. Unless I can clone myself. In that case, sign me up.
For months, my focus was off. I hated it. I’m a pretty good juggler most of the time. Usually I can adjust and switch things up pretty easily. (Granted, this freelance juggle is the only thing I’ve ever known .)
I began last year with a resolution to start saying yes more and to start saying yes less. It wasn’t a contradiction. It was about definition.
By nature, I am the first to say yes to things. To get excited about campaigns and projects and organizations and all sorts of fabulous and gratifying experiences that involve lots of work but are worth every minute. I love these things, truly I do, but I must balance them with things that pay in dollars because somehow I misplaced my trust fund.
While I cut down on the “Sign me up” yeses, I resolved to say yes to new work, to things I hadn’t done before. Doors close and new ones open – when you freelance it’s often a revolving door. I took meetings and started working with new people in addition to the more familiar faces. I found a new juggle that was fulfilling. Exciting.
Change is good. But you can only say that after the fact. Because in the moment it can be horrible and uncertain. Thanks for nothing, hindsight.
Last fall, I kept getting sick. Food allergies sorted out, I am healthier in so many ways, but back when my body waged war against most everything I ate, it still took advantage of little things, like Vitamin D and B. I had missed the memo to start taking supplements. For three years I had no idea. Take stress that you normally cope with fine (Oct-Dec is always my busiest as writing and photo deadlines combine), add wiped out immune system and stir. Last November, the memo was received. Loud and clear. Shingles is quite the messenger.
I made a mistake last year. I removed too many of the “Sign me up” yeses. I didn’t realize how much joy they brought. How much they enriched my work and life. Until I was stuck on the sofa doing nothing because I was too sick to do anything. And missing some of the things I’d volunteered for/been a part of in years past, including one that took place in November (just scribble irony all over that one).
This year I’ve made changes and it’s good. My focus is much better. I haven’t figured out the perfect formula (I suck at math), but I’m finding if the to-do list doesn’t get done,
I’m OK with it I have to let it go. Because I am doing what I need to do, and more things I want to do. Anything else really needs to be on another list. Maybe that other list is a waste of paper and time.
I’m listening to more music while I work. Old music. Music that I once danced to without caring who was watching because at seven I probably fancied myself a decent dancer. Cyndi Lauper’s Goonies ‘R Good Enough is a regular party of that iTunes work mix:
What’s good enough for you
Is good enough for me
It’s good enough
It’s good enough for me
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Good enough, totally.
And now, five great things someone else said:
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. – George Bernard Shaw
A learning experience is one of those things that says, ‘You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that.‘ – Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
There is more to life than simply increasing its speed. – Mahatma Gandhi
The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us. – Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success