In my last apartment in New York, I lived with Joanie, a kosher vegan public school librarian. She was stubborn and self-actualized to the point that she didn’t engage much with reality. For instance, she once went to France and Germany during Passover, which to me seemed like not an ideal destination for a person not eating leavened bread or any animal products. She was also always running late. Each school day was a panic of breakfast, showering, gathering lunch, and doing all the things that it takes to start the day.
Our other roommate once asked Joanie, “Why don’t you just wake up earlier?” To which she replied, “I just need to do everything faster.”
I feel a bit like Joanie lately. I wake up early enough for two pour over coffees, but the rest of my life feels frantic. I have what? No kids and a mostly 9-to-5 job. But also, I try to write 12 hours a week, I like being active, I just bought a condo, I have friends, I’m in a relationship, I try to read some of the New Yorker and Sunday New York Times every week, as well as finish at least two books a month, there’s a dog, and this quarterly speaker series I run. Ok, I guess there’s a lot going on.
When I think of what I’d like to accomplish in the next three months in my free time—finish a short story, wallpaper a bathroom, begin co-habitating with Bryon gracefully, look for grants for my speaker series, read A Manual for Cleaning Woman, Swing Time, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and finish the fall Paris Review, and of course, walk my dog, go grocery shopping, maintain friendships, and exercise regularly—I realize I need to wake up earlier. That is, in this analogy, give up some stuff. I’m not sure what. I just keep hoping I can do everything faster, which is an insane and useless strategy.
Ok, so that’s me right now. Too busy, but too stubborn and self-actualized to do anything about it.