There’s a state of mind into which I fall much too easily. You know the state I mean—those moments (or days, or weeks, or even months) in which you are faced with so many things to do that you can’t actually do any of them—a state of over-committment (or at least perceived over-committment) that leads to paralyzation. Elizabeth Ann and I used to refer to this condition as “timelock.”
The only way out of timelock is to take a breath, pick just one thing, and do it. Lather, rinse, repeat. Unfortunately, compounding my tendency towards timelock is a near-perpetual state of indecision. Which thing must I do first? Which do I most want to do? What do I want to be when I grow up? Who (or what) am I?
I can’t answer any of these questions, except to say that I am a lifelong dilettante. I want to do everything. But since it is impossible for one person to do everything, I simply do many things not really well, but just enough to get by. And the older I get, the harder that is to pull off.
For example, here are all the things to which I have currently committed myself (in no particular order):
- Full-time job as Managing Director at FoodPlay Productions* (includes secondary jobs as head of IT and digital media)
- Editor and writer at Manga Bookshelf
- Host of July’s Manga Moveable Feast (featuring the works of CLAMP)
- Manga editor for the Digital Manga Guild (currently editing a very wordy supernatural josei series)
- Editor of upcoming manga guide for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
- Director of Really Rosie for Act Too Studio
- Voice & acting coach at Act Too Studio
Quite a number of these include major deadlines coming up this month. Other commitments include, you know, my marriage, that YA fantasy novel I’ve been trying to write for the past several years, and reclaiming my health (which involves things like this morning’s two-hour walk with my dog).
I look at this list and I think, “What the hell am I doing?” Do I want to be a writer? A journalist? An editor? A theater director? A teacher? A web developer? I’m 43 years old. PICK SOMETHING ALREADY.
Am I sabotaging myself by not choosing one thing and really giving it my focus? (The obvious answer is “yes.”) So what do I actually want to do? Who do I want to be?
The truth is, I simply don’t know. I want to be all of those things. And so I linger in an endless state of timelock, trying to choose one thing at a time and just barely getting by… for now.
*This is the job that pays the bills. Sort of.