Last night I washed my car. I never wash my car. And it’s not that my car doesn’t often need washing (she does – like every other day – WHY?), it’s that I find it to be a really unenjoyable activity and I would rather plead with Aaron/pay someone else $20 to do it. Always.
But last night I washed my car. And why?
Because I had several other things to do, of course. I had work to catch up on, I had an article to write, I had to update my budget (both personal, joint, and wedding) and pay the bills. I also had to start a copywriting project, draft a proposal, and pitch another article for my business. To list a few.
But because I wanted to do none of that, I washed my car instead.
And she looks beautiful now (REALLY beautiful; my cleaning is impeccable when I’m procrastinating), but by nearly 10pm, none of the things I had (or wanted) to do had yet been done.
I’ve felt really overwhelmed lately. But oddly, that feeling has not hindered me from doing the things I often don’t want to do (many of the activities that are bartered for a paycheck + car washing), while it has led me to ignore those things that I know I want to pursue (any and all activities related to my side hustle + sleeping).
I’m trying to come to grips with why – in the face of being slightly more than occupied – I work hard to complete what (seemingly) needs to get done, but fail to pursue what I want most.
Of course, at the moment I am working a 9-to-5 job (that would more accurately be described as 7-to-11). I am building my own business (at which I am terrified I will fail). I am planning a wedding (that I want to be “perfect”). I am also teaching classes, writing articles, taking ecourses, reading book after book on business, and of course, trying to spend some time with the friends and family I adore.
This isn’t meant to be a pity party. I don’t expect you to pity me, because I know I am no busier than anyone else (and am far less busy than many), I invited all of this activity into my life, and I also know you are a sassy, pitiless bunch. Rather, this is meant to be an explanation of why I am feeling really fucking overwhelmed.
I suppose there’s a lot of reasons why I might not be. Who cares if my business fails? (You learn more from failure than success, right?) Who cares if my wedding is a shitshow? (It’s just one day out of my entire life!) Who cares if I work long hours and would like more of a life outside of that? (I have a good job at a stable company, and it’s a down economy after all.)
I really, actually, very much hate those reasons. Maybe I’ve placed too much value on things, maybe I’ve taken on too much, or maybe I’m just too much of a damn perfectionist, who is terrified of dropping the ball on something. I’m sure it’s a combination of all three. But whatever it is, I want to cut that shit out. I want to be able to do it all – including those things that don’t fall under “necessity”.
I don’t mind having a day job actually; I really don’t. It stimulates my mind, it adds structure to my day, it pays me well, and it’s brought some amazing people into my life. I don’t mind planning a wedding or writing articles or teaching classes either. What bothers me the most, I suppose, is doing all of those things and ignoring what matters most to me: pursuing the business I am passionate about, writing my stories, writing here. I hate the overwhelming feeling that comes with wanting to do it all and seeing what I am most passionate about get sacrificed.
But then: am I so overwhelmed that the best things fall by the wayside or am I just making excuses to avoid failing (or possibly succeeding beyond my wildest imagination) at what I care about most?
I watched a video that Marie Forleo posted yesterday, on reprogramming your subconscious to get what you want. On the surface, it seemed a little woo-woo, with a lot of talk of manifestation and communicating with yourself. But after really paying attention to it, and practicing what Cathy Collautt preached a little bit, I found my value in it.
Some of the value for me was clarifying why I often resist doing those things that will make me successful in a career (or relationship) I love. Some of the value for me was understanding that no matter how powerful my self-control is, it’s a hard fucking fight against the part of me that believes I might never be successful, or I might never be happy, or I might never find happiness in the version of success I’ve defined for myself. I also found some value in knowing that I could take tangible steps to feeling confident in my success – present and future. And, of course, because this has been such an internal battle for me, I even found some value and a whole lot of comfort in the woo-woo; in the feeling that good thoughts and affirmations might help chase my fear away.
I have been afraid of success for a long time, because I’ve been afraid that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be; that my dreams of freedom and contentment and utter happiness are just a little too pie-in-the-sky or possibly even selfish. I have been afraid that even if I get everything I want, it won’t be enough.
And that’s probably true. My life’s happiness probably won’t be determined by a successful business or publishing a book (but goddamn, would those two things make me really happy). But I believe it will be determined by my figuring out exactly what success means to me, truly believing that the actions I take today will lead me to achieve it, and then fucking taking those actions. Immediately. Right now. Without hesitation.
I can always wash the car later.
Image from i can read.