Is it over-commitment or am I just another in a long line of workaholics? I’ve always been “busier” than my friends, always with more to do than there appears to do it. Somehow, I’ve always managed to complete everything on deadline or before. But that was then; this is now. Plagued by myriad physical issues, none of which is life-threatening, but certainly difficult and occasionally painful, my engine no longer operates with all my spark plugs firing. Oh, occasionally, I surprise myself, but for the most part, I feel as though I need a heavy-duty tune-up. Forget Mr. Goodbar; where’s Mr. Goodwrench?
So, why, oh why, do I continue to over-commit myself with jobs with tight deadlines in a profession from which I thought I retired five years ago? Why am I still accepting new, hurry-up commissions for artwork and jewelry? Sitting still this morning (yes, I do occasionally do that), after going to bed sometime past 3am (I read TWO books yesterday, juiced a bunch of produce for dinner, baked almond-chocolate Pillsbury crescents for a friend, played on Facebook, cleaned out the refrigerator — disgustamundo, AND finished a design job, among other things) and rising at 7am (only because the cats were working hard to break down the bedroom door), I’m looking at the stack of “stuff” to do, some of which has not yet made it to my to-do list (but will this morning) and wondering why, why, why? And also wondering why I wrote a sentence that long…
The answer seems fairly simple, although there is no one reason. First, I acknowledge that I love being a full-time creator of beautiful things, whether 2D digital images or 3D objects; I like to write; and I enjoy editing other people’s writing (grammar snob). But probably just as important, it’s been so many years since I felt healthy and whole that I believe I feel compelled to drive myself to defy the physical reality of a mucked up body.
It’s true that now I’m working to pay the medical bills and stay afloat, but mostly, I’m working because I love what I do. My day job provides me an ample variety of new experiences and the opportunities to use a wide range of my skills, my free-lance work connects me to my life-long career and both old and new friends, and my creative pursuits soothe the beast inside that has been kicking, screaming and clawing to be released for as long as memory serves me. My kids think I work all the time, but I don’t really. I play much of the time. I cook, read, write, plant flowers and tend plants that die; I volunteer, visit with my friends, go to dinner with my other dad, play with my cats, and even take naps during the day sometimes.
The answer may not be so simple. Perhaps its my internal wiring, along with the need to create and the desire to be productive, or maybe it’s just the same old ADD that’s always fueled my batteries. And maybe all of those things together are why I fight so damned hard not to let the physical breakdown take over. I’ll be damned if I’ll let a little myasthenia gravis…or spinal stenosis…or osteoarthritis…or diabetes…fibromyalgia…or an alien growing in my foot…or loss of my clear vision…or whatever, define who I am and what I can or cannot accomplish in a day. My father always said I was “determined.”
As I’m mulling all this over, contemplating the stack of “stuff” and prioritizing my deadlines, I am realizing that it makes no difference whether I’m over-committed or a workaholic, as long as I’m happy doing what I’m doing. Some of us are fortunate enough to have careers where our work is also our play, where even after 40+ years, we still get a rush from it.
Better yet, some of us even enjoy the luxury of being able to work from home in our pajamas, on our own schedule. Hmm. Maybe I’ll just go take a little nap now.