Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Buffet or Burrow

Sometimes life is like a buffet. You see so many tantalizing dishes, and you pile them eagerly onto your plate, and then you realize that you have way to much, and that you don't have room to add on some really good things that you just got to.

There are so many things I'd like to do. Yet I must spend the majority of my time earning a living. And my job leaves me tired, so it's not like I can just leap into some exciting activity every moment that I'm not at work. Moreover, time is needed for the basic chores of life like getting groceries and doing laundry. So I seem to only have time for about 1% of what I want to do. It seems like I just randomly snatch at things, I embark on some interesting activity because I think of it at the time, but then all the other things I'd like to be doing get pushed aside. And I end up filling up my life with so many things that I'm too tired and stressed to enjoy them.

But lately, my life is more like a burrow. I'm in hibernation. I put the brakes on all my activities. When I'm not at work, I'm just puttering about at home. I say I've quit all my activities, but I still am gardening, going to Nia twice a week, and doing my radio show. So maybe I haven't quit as much as it sounds, but I am mostly leading a quiet, solitary life, and I like it that way. I like getting rested, not always pushing myself to do things I'm too tired to do.

And yet, the long list of things I want to do still vibrates in the back of my mind. Somehow, I want to find a way to do so many things, and yet preserve the peacefulness of a less harried lifestyle. Here's what they all are:

  • Intellectual: take courses in databases, web programming, institutional research, education, anthropology, Spanish, etc. Do some sort of educational research, whether for a state government, in an institutional research office, or in a research institute. (They sound the same, but an institutional research office and a research institute are quite different.)
  • Travel/active: build houses for Habitat for Humanity, go on the Zephyr Adventures trips to Idaho and Nantucket/Martha's Vineyard, go hiking, rollerblading, kayaking, sailing, cross country skiing, and downhill skiing, spend time in Maine and Vermont.
  • Dance/movement: ballroom, swing, Latin, jazz, modern, Afro-Caribbean, contra, Nia and yoga.
  • Community: participate in groups of like minded people such as Quakers, the Adirondack Mountain Club, the Honest Weight Food Co-op, the Troy Waterfront Farmer's Market, the Capital District Community Gardens.
  • Work on projects at home: compile family history information, write up Taiwan trip, write up Venezuela trip, write up radio show information, write in blogs and e-mails, go through miscellaneous papers, read the many things I have piled up waiting to be read, do miscellaneous chores like put the new registration sticker on my car, change the smoke alarm batteries, etc.
  • Music: do my radio show, volunteer at concerts and festivals, go to Folk Alliance conferences, read about folk music, compile folk music information, go to singalongs, learn to play musical instruments.
  • People: host parties, visit friends and family.
  • Home: I don't think I'm really up to doing all this singlehandedly at this point, but someday it would be nice to get a house, and put in some solar power, decorate it the way I want it to be, and work on home renovation projects and yard work and gardening. In my dreams, there is something like a complex of cottages housing all my friends and relatives, with a common building which has a kitchen, dining room, living room, computer room, library, dance studio, and TV/movie room.
People might tell me I just need to set some goals and priorities, but the problem is the structure of my life is such that the stuff I want to do far exceeds my time and energy, so I will always be in a state of frustration. Or people might tell me to just appreciate the things that I can do, appreciate what time and energy I do have. People are so annoying that way.

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