“It’s not that I can’t fall in love. It’s really that I can’t help falling in love with too many things all at once. So, you must understand why I can’t distinguish between what’s platonic and what isn’t, because it’s all too much and not enough at the same time.” -jack.kerouac
Being a person who loves a lot of things and cares deeply about all of those things can come with a lot of benefits, but it can also be pretty exhausting. In some ways, it feels impossible to fully feed and nourish all of the parts of myself simultaneously. It’s hard to be all parts of myself at once, to be and to do it all. And I know no one is asking me or expecting me to do that. But I’ve lived this overextended and thinly stretched lifestyle for a while and I think it’s where I operate best. I cannot be any of myself well unless I am being all of myself.
I am afraid of growing old and losing pieces of myself along the way. I am afraid of deciding it’s easier or necessary to only be a part of me, to follow a part of my dreams. I am afraid of becoming a person who lives for 5:00 or for the weekend or for the summer time. I am afraid of wasting the present counting down to the future or rehashing the past. I am afraid of becoming static and flat and letting the color and sound fade away from my mosaic.
I have always done a good job of doing what I am supposed to do. For as long as I can remember, I went to class and I did my homework, I studied for tests and went to practice; I graduated; I went to college; I graduated; I got a job, paid my loans, went to grad school. I have always prided myself on being great at showing up. While I believe that life belongs to those who show up, I don’t want to become so complacent or habitual that I forget why I am showing up. I am a maker and completer of lists, but I don’t want to focus so much on the lists of assignments and to-do’s that I forget about the coffee stained and purple-inked lists of the cities I want to visit and the adventures I want to go on.
I don’t want to be too busy to celebrate your birthday, or to answer your text. I don’t want to be too busy to form relationships or memories or to follow my dreams. I don’t want busyness to become an excuse for not being the friend or the person that I said I would be and I don’t want it to outlaw uncertainty. At the core of myself is and has always been that I want to do things. I am good at doing what I am supposed to do; but I don’t want to forget to do the rest.
A few months ago, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in over a year. While catching up, he asked me how my writing was going, and what I had been writing. The only answer I had was that I hadn’t written anything for a while, and admitting this made me feel incomplete. I hesitate to label myself “a writer”, but this person clearly saw me as one and that is the part of me that he remembered and cared to ask about. I felt I had been neglectful to myself for not remembering or caring to ask about it on my own.
Why hadn’t I been writing? As long as I can remember, I have written. In elementary and middle school I “wrote novels”, I wrote in journals, I jotted down poems; I believed in the power of my words. This evolved into journalism and editing throughout high school, and writing for and running a blog in college. Now, I write emails and papers and tweets and the occasional Facebook status and while I still get excited over just the right turn of words in these mediums, a piece of me has been left unwatered. My writing never became my career or my major or my identifier as a person, but I think it always made me, and all of the complicated and multifaceted parts of me, better.
So here I am, writing. This is about more than writing though. It’s about recommitting to the pieces of me that make it difficult to make decisions. It’s hard to choose a path when there are so many things you want to do. It’s hard to know what you want when, really, you know you want it all. Sometimes, it’s easier to turn off the pieces that make decisions harder. It’s easier to look at only what makes sense, and only what you’re supposed to do. It’s easier to just be logical. This is about writing, but it’s also about preserving my pieces. It’s about being complicated. It’s about making the decisions that might not make the most sense, logically, but that make me better and more and whole. It’s about remembering that my favorite noun is passion my favorite verb is go. It’s about figuring it out as I go, and subsequently, figuring out where I’m going. And it’s about time.