Operating in a constant state of high priority like I’ve been doing the past several weeks tends to have some ill effects. I know a few people that thrive on always being busy, but it’s not the state I’m personally comfortable in. The thing that I’ve gotten out of these past few weeks is that it doesn’t matter what other people can do. You should only ever focus on what you are specifically capable of, and only push yourself when you’re comfortable in that environment, taking a few liberties with what “comfortable” means in this circumstance.
For example, there’s a lot going on with me right now. I have school, improv, and writing, which are all high priorities that can each take a lot of time out of my days, depending on the specific scenarios. It’s lead to me being at moderate levels of stress even when I do have time to relax, because I’m spending that relaxing time trying to catch up on things, whether those things are a high priority or video games. This weekend, I have to write a short story I haven’t started, go to a play, host a D&D game, and watch a movie. Somewhere in between all those things I have to find about ten hours finishing Moby Dick, which I need done by Tuesday. I also need to work on my Halloween costume and beyond that I have plans to start doing things that aren’t even on my local radar. (To name one, I want to start recording narrations of all these blog posts so people can listen to them instead.)
But in the end, it’s not actually the work load that matters, it’s the individual’s capability to handle it. I can handle mine, though I feel like I’m carrying a ton of bricks over thin ice and a feather more will make me fall under.
That said, I’ve always wondered what would happen if I had to carry that extra feather. You never really know how you’ll react to a situation until it happens, you know? Well, recently I got an inkling of an answer. I saw that feather, and while I managed to evade it, in that instant I knew what would happen: I would simply drop everything that could be dropped. It’s too late in the school year to let drop my classes, but pretty much everything else in my life is voluntary responsibility. I could stop doing things like this at any given point. In fact, the only reason I write this blog is to improve myself.
So, if I had dropped everything, I’m not sure where I’d be right now. But I’ve come to the conclusion that while it would be relieving at first, it would end up filling me with regret at my incompetence. It would have meant I wasn’t strong enough to carry on, and while that isn’t always a bad thing necessarily, it’s always nice to prove to yourself you can overcome some things.
The main takeaway here is to find that line. Figure out where your limit is, and get as close as you comfortably can without stepping over. I’m too close to my limit right now, but maybe for some people (like a few friends of mine), I have comparatively larger amounts of free time. It’s all about what you can handle. Ands you get better at handling things, your limit will probably get higher.