One of the great consistencies in my life is this: I take on too much. If I start working in a clinic that barely has enough patients for one person, I set about building a patient load and before long, there is enough work for three or more people. If I go to a bookstore or library, I bring home more books than I could ever read in a reasonable amount of time. If I have any stretch of time that sprawls out before me empty, before long I have more projects and events than can possibly fit. And of course I set a ridiculous amount of goals.
Lately, I have been feeling like my life is a treadmill, set one notch too fast. I can go comfortably along if I just keep running until I just can't keep up the pace. Then I do a strange little hop-jump-run maneuver to propel myself forward just enough to resume the running speed. Until I can't keep up the pace. And so on.
I'm not sure why I do this to myself. I think that maybe I have a missing gene or something. "The contentment gene." I can never be content with where I am now. I am forever focused on where I am moving toward, what I am striving for, who I want to become. Or maybe that is where my contentment comes from -- the journey.
This past weekend, I had this overwhelming sense of nostalgia. I felt the way I did when I was in college. So many classes, assignments, events, work shifts. So little time. Also...the sense of impermanence. The "this is where I need to be right now to get ahead in my life, but this is not where I will be forever" feeling. The "real life begins after I get this done" feeling.
Possibly, this whole nostalgia is really from two Friday night phone conversations: one with Nerd and one with No-Potential P, both of whom have returned to grad school and were feeling a bit lame because their Friday nights were spent reading textbooks. Or possibly because the informal college reunion at the Big E I had been trying to organize with friends officially imploded. But whatever the cause, the sense of urgency and importance that I always associate with my college years surrounded me all weekend.
Finding balance. Finding contentment. Deciding what need to continue and what I can let go. Maybe that's what living in "the real world is all about." I understand that.
But still I keep juggling plates.