Fork in the Road: I want it all
Credit: JESSICA THOMPSON
In life, multitasking is inevitable, but it is important to not bite off more than you can chew because you do not want your busy schedule to deteriorate your relationships.
With every year that passes, the urge to try new things only strengthens. I’m a seeker of new enterprises and instead of taking a time out during my lunch breaks, I’d often rather read or take up an online course in a new subject.
My spare time is frequently occupied with volunteer endeavours or researching new ways I can get closer to achieving my goals.
Because of my unquenchable thirst for novel ideas, concepts, skills and knowledge, I have an unfortunate tendency to bite off more than I can chew.
Inevitably, I sign up for too much and I find myself lying awake at night having difficulty relaxing enough to fall asleep, thinking about all of my to-do lists and wondering how on earth I’m going to accomplish it all.
The mounting pile of work to be done combined with the increasing lack of sleep places my body in a state of stress. It isn’t before long that I fall ill, rendering me useless, burnt out and far worse off than I would have been had I simply been more selective in the tasks I set out to conquer.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not shaming ambition. I admire those who make the most of their day. I admire those who continually strive to better their lives and I encourage you all to aspire to be the best versions of yourselves.
But doing so should never be to the detriment of your health, sanity nor relationships. The last point, in particular, is worth emphasizing because in the end, it doesn’t matter how great you are or how great you have become if you have no one to share it with.
We often forget that some of the best learning we acquire doesn’t come through the completion of tasks or goals; instead, it comes through our interactions. Whether you’re speaking with a friend, a co-worker, superior or stranger, there’s something to be learned from each and every one of our unique experiences.
We all engage with the world in our own way. We all have individual sensibilities and perceptions about events, feelings and their meanings. Having deep and thoughtful conversations with others not only reveals a lot about them, but also reveals a lot about yourself and often makes you question the very things that you cling to as truths.
As we discussed last month, we seem to have gotten wrapped up in a mentality of making everything short and sweet. In this crazy rat race, we force ourselves to engage in everything with less: less time, less detail and less attention.
While it’s difficult to not get sucked into this whirlwind when your boss or professor hands out deadline upon deadline, I harken you all not to let this mentality seep into your interpersonal life and relationships. Though multi-tasking in the working world may allow you to seemingly accomplish more, sucking time away from those who matter will only suck them out of your life.
Relationships, like learning, require constant and deliberate effort and thoughtfulness. But the energy you expend is surely worth the reward.
You are defined in life not by the things you’ve done, but the ways in which you’ve affected others. So find the “time” for your friends because it’s also “time” through which you enrich yourself.