During a recent phone call from my friend Reagan, we both determined we might need one thing in our lives to make it complete: clones. Not boyfriends, not children, and not a large group of girlfriends whose shoulders we can cry on occasionally. Isn’t cloning controversial? We don’t care. Just how many do we need to get everything done? I determined about 10 to carry out all of my various tasks:
Clone #1: Complete my internship Monday-Thursday.
Clone #2: Plan a trip with Reagan for the holidays.
Clone #3: Plan, arrange, and attend activities to explore in Chicago for blog posts.
Clone #4: Edit photos for and write blog posts. Schedule posts into social media once finished, as well as use platforms daily to engage readers and comment on other blogs to generate traffic.
Clone #6: Locate companies and apply for employment.
Clone #7: Learn a new language, preferably Spanish, but also thinking of French or Mandarin.
Clone #8: Run errands including grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning bedroom, and doing laundry. Also make time to call family and friends to catch up.
Clone #9: Read magazines and books sitting in shelf and watch Netflix movies that I thought I would have time for in Chicago.
Clone #10: Socialize and attend events to meet people.
Unfortunately there’s only one of me to all of these tasks, which I’ve been told are manageable, but I haven’t figured out how exactly. I have blogging schedules and calendars and have set aside times to work on planning future travel adventures, but something always seems to be moved down to another day when I can focus on it. And then I don’t end up completing everything I need to do. Looking over my arrangements brings up one question: Is the problem not that I have too much to do but that I have too much opportunity to do things? Is there such a thing has having too many readily available options? While I appreciate movements that have allowed certain doors to open up and allow opportunities for me, is having an excess of choice actually hindering my progress instead of helping?
It seems I’m not the only one struggling with having too many things to do. Countless friends and family tell me, “It never ends,” and others take on possible side business, start new school programs or degrees for a career change, or make arrangements for a future trip during spring break. When it came to picking my degree and career path originally the decision was incredibly difficult. I could pick so many different options, each one appearing to be the answer to what I would do with my life. Or I could quit school and go backpacking across Europe. Or I quit school, move to a new state, work for a year to gain residency, and then transfer to a school nearby. Or I could forget about my bachelor’s degree and go to a tech school. The list goes on and on and on. It seems like having the freedom to choose is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it feels as though the countless possibilities are overwhelming and exhausting. What if you make the wrong decision? How will you get yourself out? What if you regret everything and it’s too late?
Sometimes I thought retail therapy might help, but to be honest I found myself in exactly the same situation. When it comes to my recent commitments and interest in sustainable fashion, I find the amount of clothing options we have to be overwhelming. It’s no longer four seasons to choose from, but mini seasons in between as well. If you pick the cardigan in red, will you be sad you didn’t buy it in blue? Well, maybe you should get both! Oh, and don’t forget about the pair of black work pants you were originally hunting for. Do they come in grey too? The options can get overwhelming and exhausting, which is what contributes to our massive overconsumption and piles of clothes sitting in the closet: we buy what we think we need, not what we actually need. We may feel helpless, anxious, and unable to make an actual decision with so many options hanging in our closet.
What can be done about this anxiousness? Perhaps instead of coming up with tons of “To Do” Lists, it’s better to find out ways to take time out for me. Instead of feeling like I need to accomplish so many tasks to be smart and talented enough for a valuable job, good enough to create a successful blog, and worthy enough to have a multitude of friends, maybe it’s time I realize I already am good enough. The crazy part about having so much is that you sometimes feel like you have nothing and you are nothing. Why? Because you forget to take time out to remember that none of the things that matter would happen without you. Instead of being happy with what you already have, you’re constantly thinking about what you could acquire to become happy.
Right now I’m still figuring out the balance between career and personal life before I add too much into the mix. Just because I’m not able to devote the time right now to learn another language or learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud, HTML, and CSS, doesn’t mean I will never be able to. It’s better to forgive myself for not accomplishing certain tasks than feel overwhelmed by what I haven’t done. Having it all isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and in the end it doesn’t amount to more, it just amounts to more clutter and chaos. Sure, it might be nice to do all of these things and have clones to do them, but the thing about clones is they would only experience one thing. They wouldn’t be able to experience all of these opportunities that make me who I am.