I’m probably doing too much, and this post is more for me to look at that than it is to share it with you. Ultimately, I’m curious about what’s driving me: is it the will to achieve, or is to insulate myself from closeness?
I’m always seeing something new I want to do. Today, it was a 9 week improv course. Yesterday, it was a visit to the Virginia Tech grad school. The day before I was applying to read Spanish to the visually impaired. Today I had to leave class early to go to the doctor before the yoga class that I teach, and immediately after I made dinner and drove down to Red Rocks for a concert. Everything fits together, tightly, and it works. My life functions. Part of me gets a kick out of the complication of it. But just managing it all is half my day.
Tomorrow I’ll go straight from class to work, but I have to leave early to go to a funding hearing for the club I run. Then I’ll go back to get in my hours, and then I’ll go home and make dinner and head down to Red Rocks again – because one night of Nine Inch Nails means I might miss my favorite songs, and above all I’m afraid of missing out. But that’s the thing: I’m missing out because I don’t have the time to draw things out and appreciate them. At the concert I was studying for my Spanish midterm while I rested my feet, and composing an email to an equipment vendor in my head while I danced. That’s a “sober” day for me, just think what it’s like in my head when I drink coffee.
The next day is Thursday, and I’ll study during my morning classes for the midterm I have in Spanish that afternoon. Again I’ll go straight to work, a little late because of the timing of the exam, and again I’ll leave early – because the club’s trip funding comes from a different board than its operational funding.
If I ever get a chance, I need to schedule physical therapy. The referrals, for both my hand and my ankle, are in my glove box. Combined with seeing my therapist, that’s three hours a week that I’m not sure exists. Wouldn’t I rather do weekly swing dancing lessons?
I was looking at flights to Cozumel. Wouldn’t that be neat? I’ll leave two days after finals and spend three weeks practicing my Spanish and diving and exploring pyramids and cenotes. Only thing is, I’ll miss a week of the high school science project that I start teaching next month.
It’s odd, skipping Burning Man feels like it made all of this worse. Burning Man has, for nine years, been a way to justify the need to cram so much in, because those two key weeks at the beginning of school had instead been dedicated to prepping and attending the festival. But this time round, there’s no justification, I feel the same as always, like I’ve got to cram cram cram, but along with it I feel unjustified. I feel confused: why, if I had two more weeks than ever before, do I feel like I have less time than ever?
And so I’m drawn back to two Burning Man’s ago. The time – the ONE time – that I left that two weeks open. I just said, “You know, something good always comes up after Burning Man, so why make commitments that will force that two weeks to a close?” And I didn’t make any commitments. It was a breakthrough for me. And that’s how Hannah ended up here.
She’s amazing, she really is.
And if we go our separate ways I will know why. It comes down to time. And maybe that’s why this whole thing matters. Because if I lose her, I want it to mean something. I want to know that I understand the decisions that led up to it. Because it might be too late to change my commitments now.
We stopped talking two days ago, and the plan is six more. It only took one day for my first realization to happen though: with Hannah gone, I still didn’t have enough time. I didn’t have any real me time: it was always stolen from the time I’d earmarked for “more important” matters. So I’d lay down at night and watch a video when I was behind on homework. Then I’d sleep through my alarm and miss class, or call in sick to my design team meeting. So it wasn’t that Hannah was keeping me from taking care of myself, I had organized my life so as to preclude it. In fact, I had whittled away at the time she and I spent together until it too had to be taken from the already earmarked time. Resentment set in.
Why did I do that?
Fear, I’d say. Fear of getting too close. Fear of commitment. Well if that isn’t cliche. But I don’t mean commitment to her. I mean commitment to myself. Fear of sticking to a choice until it fully plays out, keeping myself transient and free, that I might always be able to jump on that golden opportunity that surely, someday, comes along.
Or was it? Maybe I just want to be like Elon Musk, CEO of two companies and still working on myriad project elsewhere. I do, but then Elon also has a family.