I read a lovely article today about a woman who was overwhelmed and realized the work she was doing had nothing to do with her actual talents or things she enjoyed doing. She got therapy, pondered a while, and POOF, she’s now living on a goat farm in a yurt, perfectly happy to enjoy a quiet life.
I’m happy for her. As she pointed out, it’s not a character flaw to be someone who shudders at the idea of trying to “make it” and cramming as much as possible to achieve some new goal every few months or climbing the corporate ladder until you “win.” Knowing full well that most people aren’t going to “make it” or “win,” it’s probably a good idea to take comfort in more modest goals and aspirations that allow you to live a full but not overfull life.
Looking at the list of things I’m involved with lately, you’d think I am among the over-achieving group and that I am trying to “win” at something. Most organizations volunteered for? Most confusing schedule? I sure don’t look like a very good hermit.
There’s a middle ground
Knowing my personal drive to keep learning and that I think other people teach me a lot, I don’t think a slow, repetitive life with few people in it would work for me (unlike my spouse). I need a sense of purpose and to feel like I’m doing something useful.
At the same time, I have zero interest in just doing things to do them, or in engaging in activities I don’t enjoy. I’m not really enthused about doing things I’m not good at, unless I’m in learning mode.
That’s why I have been carefully choosing what groups to be involved with and what activities to do. I’ve eliminated some things I was no longer comfortable with, like meetings that wear me out and raising money for religious entities.
Since I love to write and I love to organize things, I’ve set myself up to do writing, marketing, and leadership activities in my organizations and work. No financial stuff, no dealing directly with animal cruelty, no being in charge of food for me. Those are things I am not good at or don’t like.
Because all the work I do is things I enjoy, I don’t at all feel over committed, though it looks that way on the surface. I have family time, friend time, reading time, and pet time! Work feels like fun when it fulfills your needs and brings pleasure. I think I found a balance!