Sometimes I feel like I’m one email, one voicemail message, one “can you give me a decision on this by 5pm” away from a full-fledged, uncontrollable, can’t be tamed anxiety attack.
I can’t believe I’m admitting this to you, but I am because I want you to know the truth.
I’m good at holding it together. I’m good at following the orders of my to-do list and working myself to the point of having my eyes blur out from staring at a screen and my fingertips shake from dancing around the keyboard like they are doing the cha-cha slide on repeat.
I’ve always wanted to do it all.
To work full-time and manage my own business and go to sleep at night with answers to all the emails in my inbox and eat a strict vegan diet and sit across from a scruffy guy on a first or a second or a third date and laugh until the butterflies in my stomach latch on to something about him I can’t forget. I want to take a spin class or a yoga class for an hour every night and I want to spend Saturday nights embarrassing myself on a dance floor with the kind of friends who will dance beside you until the music stops and the club kicks you out at the lousy hour of 4am.
And most of the time, I’m able to do at least three of those things. And most of the time I’m okay when the rest slip underneath my covers and hibernate for the next couple of months.
I stood outside a neon-lit parking garage and I cried. My heart was racing and I suddenly forgot how to do basic human things like walk or talk.
I was having a breakdown moment on the corner of a well-trafficked sidewalk, where all of the tourists who paid their way to come and see New York City were seeing…me. Their selfie sticks and their strapped on GoPros were in my face, as If I’m the only person they have ever seen in a lethargic pure of emotion in a rapidly public situation.
I can’t balance everything. Nobody out there can.
I’ve always had this strange theory that no person in NYC has a perfect situation with their apartment, job, and significant other. I don’t think it’s easy to have and to hold onto all three.
So maybe we’re not supposed to be able to handle it all. Maybe being in charge and on top of everything is just boring and uninteresting. It doesn’t allow room for mistakes or regrets or daunting failures that’ll eat us alive until they don’t anymore. Until they become our desperate method of success.
I’m writing this with fresh cappuccino stains on my keyboard and a rising zit on my forehead, that the lady who did my Groupon-bought facial says is from stress, and a stack of unpaid credit card bills that are harmonizing whispers of “Pay me now you fool! Pay me now!”
I’m starting to think that what I like the most about not being able to handle it all, is the simple burst of excitement you can get from just being able to handle something.
One tiny item that’s resting in the very middle of your to-do list feels like a life-size shot of caffeine when you meet it with the tip of your pen and drag a line straight through it.
It makes you feel jittery and strong. It makes you feel like you’re showing up to the plate, to the party, to the adventure of a lifetime.