Picking Your Battles, and the Art of Not Giving a S***

Good morning, friends and neighbors.
I am only 32 years old, and I feel exhausted.

In the never-ending, headlong rush for security, safety, and making everything “okay,” I have a tendency to take on a lot.
Why not, right? I’m technically young. I have a strong body with no apparent disabilities, I’m intelligent and I’m able to plan.
I even have something of a way with words, apparently.

When it comes to saving the world and making it better, why SHOULDN’T I take on a bit more than others?

To give you an idea of what I mean, here is a list of my current activities:

The BHB currently:

  • Works 32 hours a week in a restaurant bakery.
  • Is seeking part-time work to supplement paychecks.
  • Is seeking additional work as a food writer for hire.
  • Is writing two books with the intent of publishing early next year.
  • Writes and runs this blog- including social media, marketing, finance, etc.
  • Considering a number of other alternatives for how to grow the blog.

Tack on to all of this the average responsibilities of adult life (bills, laundry, personal maintenance, etc) and all the things I do as hobbies (writing for fun, DnD night, meadmaking, etc.)

I am a VERY busy guy.

No, this isn’t an “oh woe is me, have pity on a poor writer” post. I chose to take all this on for a reason. Seeing my projects through is no one’s duty but mine, and my hobbies make it all enjoyable. There’s also certainly something to be said for narrowing down- focusing on one or two things at a time, rather than flying off in five different directions.

All the same… I am friggin’ TIRED.

The Dark Side of “You Always Have Time”

Once you decide to realign your priorities in your life, you start making time for the things that matter. Time is a finite resource, though.
Giving more time to the things that matter means you devote less to the things that don’t… and that means defining what doesn’t matter to you.

That sounds so final, doesn’t it? It sounds like closing doors to yourself. “I will not devote time to this.”
Another way to think of it, though, is an expression of freedom. “will not devote time to this.

There are certain things you really should devote time to, of course- your health for one. Your relationships, your loved ones, the things at allow you to survive and be content in this world.

What do you have on your plate right now that DOESN’T do any of those things for you?
They can take a lot of different forms:

  • rote behaviors/habits (how long have you been scrolling through Facebook and Twitter?)
  • things you think you have to do (“I’ve been meaning to…”, “I really ought to…”)
  • things others expect of you that do not serve your goals
  • things you think you MUST do, or else they won’t get done.

Setting Limits, and the Art of Not Giving a S***

If you’re like me, your diligence, discipline, and drive are enormous assets. They let you get things done, power you through rough patches, and guide you toward your goals.
You don’t want to stop. You don’t want to say “no”, or admit that you can’t conquer the world and right all wrongs before breakfast.

You want to be reliable, and you don’t want to disappoint anyone.

​If you’re like me, that can feel like weakness to you. It can feel like giving up.

Let me tell you now- from one guy pulling his hair out while staring at a screen to another:

 

You can’t do it all.

Man standing on top of a mountain at dusk in Yosemite

Photo by Lane Smith on Unsplash

Of all those things I listed above that I have going on, those are the things I do that I WANT to devote time to, or NEED to for my own health and survival. There’s a lot of other stuff I do that DOESN’T help me so much:

  • social media (if I didn’t need it for business, I probably would have gotten rid of my profiles long ago.
  • binge-watching history series on YouTube.
  • hemming and hawing over what to do next, and other neurotic silliness.​

Far away the most, however, is that I spend a lot of time worrying and stressing about what other people say and do- about me, about my work, about others.

You probably do too. It’s natural, really. We are social creatures. We care enormously about belonging, about connecting, and being a part of our groups. it is both an enormous strength, and a crippling weakness.
We lend such credence and weight to the opinions and words of others, we don’t always realize it when those opinions- or listening to them- don’t serve us anymore.

When you learn to prioritize and how to lend your energy to the things that matter to you, it’s important to learn to STOP GIVING ENERGY to things that don’t.

Let that jackass on the internet be wrong.
The entirety of Twitter doesn’t need to be read right now.
Ignore the criticism of people who have no stake in you.

For everything that fills your time, put down the things that just “kill time” or do nothing for you.

This is often the more difficult task. If I figure out how to do it perfectly, I promise I’ll let you know. In the meantime though, start looking at what you give your time, energy, and attention too.

Of all those things… which do you think don’t​ deserve it?

Stay Classy,

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