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Overwhelmed


Lately, I've been overwhelmed with myself. There are so many things that I want to do, so many projects I want to execute, and it seems like there's never the time, the peace of mind, or the resources at hand to do them. I want to do more craft fairs, but first I have to develop my art! I want to take pictures, but I need time to edit them! I want to be a published writer of a book, but first I have to, well, write.

If this sounds familiar, then you're probably familiar with feeling burned out. Partially from the holidays and from work getting busy, as well as the urge to do everything at one hundred percent. I have been burned out. It's not a great place to start this year.

"Words of the year" aren't something I do, but I'm going to choose "overwhelmed" as one of mine. This might seem contrary, but here's the reason why I choose to embrace it.

Overwhelmed means energy before I got overwhelmed. Truth be told, I love the rush of ideas, the bursts of action, the excitement to seize the day. I love when I'm not apathetic, when, as Lin- Manuel Miranda puts it, my mortality scares me into action. My encouragement to people like this, who feel like there are a hundred things to do but only time and energy and resources to do about eighteen of them is to embrace it and then take a step back. Accept that you want to do all these things.

Then accept that you can not do them all.

Accept that even eighteen is good.

Eighteen is better than zero.

I'm reading Die Empty by Todd Henry, and in his podcast "The Accidental Creative" (On Spotify. I highly recommend browsing it and listening when you have time. They're short and packed with insight.), he proposed this outlook on feeling overwhelmed: (paraphrased)

Live your life in such a way that when you go to bed, you know that you are empty of your best work today. You might not have gotten to do everything you care about today, but you committed yourself to finishing a sizable piece of something today. That's resting empty of your best work, ready to be filled and then do the same the next day, and the day after that. It put perspective for me: accepting I can not do everything, accepting the overflow as a good way to supply myself with ideas, and making real progress with even one thing.

Here's to a new year of attacking those projects with ferocity. I believe in you.

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