Typically once or twice a year, I come to the realization that I have taken on too much, acquired an excessive amount of “things”, experience a bit of disorganization and find that my psyche goes on overdrive. As an INTJ, I want to do everything; I have a ridiculous amount of interests, obsessions, work and projects and I get into Wonder Woman mode and think I can handle it all. I want to handle it all, dammit! But wanting to do it all and having the ability to do it all are entirely different animals, and being an INTJ, doing anything requires 100% effort. This has been a recurring theme my entire life, and only evolves as I get older.
This year, I have come to the realization that having an interest doesn’t mean I have to be intimately involved with it, sadly.
I literally need to trim down my interests. A sudden rebirth of an interest in the life of Elizabeth I, doesn’t mean that I need to dive into research, buy more books and spend valuable time learning every possible detail. I want to though, but I have to stop myself. I have relics of past interests that surround me; books I have yet to read, a sewing machine that sits untouched, an unridden motorcycle in the garage, camera equipment laying to waste and an incomplete mental file system that is begging to be filled with even more information. I love Halloween, but I am ignoring it this year due to lack of mental capacity. I always want to spend the year crafting a masterpiece of a costume to wear, but for the past few years, that just hasn’t happened.
When I begin to feel this way, I find myself completely dismissing unfinished projects, engaging in excessive cleaning and purging unused goods to the trash or to the local thrift. I know my limits, and when I reach capacity, I do my best to simplify. I wonder at what point I will learn not to take new things on, and have made attempts to approach new ideas with this approach. I have been learning to say “no” to myself, and I am the hardest one to say no to.
- No, you can’t buy that book, when are you realistically going to have time to read it, and infinitely worse, what obsessive doors will that open?
- No, you can’t buy that dress. Yes, it looks great, but what event on this planet are you going to attend that requires it? On top of that, can you name the last time you had to dress up for anything?
- No, you can’t just go ahead and start building that whim of a business idea that just popped into your head. Let’s have a real plan this time and assess it realistically before we jump.
- No, you may not download that game. When do you play the last one you downloaded. Never? Yeah, I thought so.
- I laugh in your face when I see you eyeing that cookbook, and you know exactly why.
It goes on and on, and I find myself conversing to myself (in my head, naturally) as if I am a toddler. I don’t mind, I need it. I am so great at keeping my relationships simple, only selecting to associate with those who bring value to my life, but when it comes to myself, I am a big softie. Time to toughen the hell up.
I know it is healthy to have hobbies, interests and projects…however I just have too many. I literally wrote down a list of things that interest me, slimmed it down to things I have been interested in on an extremely long-term basis and allowed myself to maintain only those. I have killed projects I have been working on, slimming down to one, where I have an actual plan which could produce actual fruit. I will also be selling the motorcycle in the spring. Yes, I love it, but I have to get real here.
The sewing machine will still exist, but for repair work only; There is no future gain in creating lavish historical costumes. I am also only allowed to purchase items that have an ROI, which is something I have always been good at, but I need to get tougher. I am also refusing future freelance projects, because I just can’t. I know my skills are in high demand but damn, I can’t help everyone. I am going to master the art of saying no and stick with it. I have to. I am nearing 40 and I no longer possess the gift of being able to function without food and sleep any longer (and I can’t tell you how much I miss that). I still stay up until 2am, but that is beside the point.
Also published on Medium.