All throughout school, my pattern was to keep adding side projects and extracurricular activities to my weekly schedule—I'd start by joining a choir, then a theater group, then a church group... By the end of three or four years, I'd be so overburdened with activities that I'd burn out and vow to wipe the slate clean after graduation. Then I'd move on to the next phase of my life, be it a new school or the "real world"...and slowly start the process all over again.
For the foreseeable future, there is no "next phase" of my life. No more school, no grand plans of life-altering significance on the horizon. No natural stopping point where I can gracefully walk away from my commitments. "As soon as I finish what I'm working on now," I keep telling myself, "then I'll take some time to myself." But I never seem to finish. Projects that should only take a weekend end up taking weeks, if not months. Whenever one commitment starts wrapping up, another tantalizing one presents itself. I thrive on being productive and feeling like I'm making a contribution to society, so I want to do all these things. Yet one after another, every commitment in recent years has gone on so long that it's more like work than fun. I've learned to devote all my free time to powering through projects so I can finish before they stop being enjoyable.
Which, in turn, makes them not enjoyable. And they still take forever.
The other factor is that I need to finish my projects more quickly if they're going to remain relevant. I've got a blog post about the latest Star Wars movie that's been in the works since the week the film opened. I completely missed the boat on my annual New Year's Resolutions post. My stalled playthrough of Mega Man 8 surely would have gotten a boost in popularity if I could have released it in sync with the second Mega Man Legacy Collection. I'm frantically trying to get my Mega Man fangame released before the next big level design contest opens—because as I found with my Super Mario World ROM hack that should've been released a decade ago, even the most creative ideas will get scooped up by somebody else if you take too long to show them to the world.
But I'm also racing against myself. Five months after playing Chrono Cross for the first time, I still haven't finished the angry article I started drafting for GameCola about it...and at this point, I'm not sure I want to bother finishing it. Writing about the game was cathartic at one point, but now I've moved on with my life. Do I really want to reopen that wound? I think the only reason I'm still considering going back to it is to preserve this sentence, which took way too long to craft:
Chrono Cross GOES OVERBOARD vith obnoxiously obnoxious speech-quirks-and ffrustratingly thick-um acthents zat make-eth everything-om, like, verrry haard tö ken, mate—don'tCHA agwee, tee hee?
Well, that's one less thing on my to-do list.
I'm taking this weekend to recover from self-inflicted stress. I'm not thinking about what I should do. I'm not pushing myself to finish anything I may start or resume. I'm going where the winds of relaxation take me. That I've spent today folding laundry, transcribing a dessert recipe into my recipe book, and reviewing fan-submitted captions on my YouTube videos might make it seem like I still have no idea how to relax...but these are things I want to do. It's making me happy to tidy up the all the physical and mental clutter I've been neglecting in my life. Now, if you'll excuse me, I want to go redeem this coupon code I found inside a cereal box.