Hi friends! And welcome back to the blog. Today is another personal-ish post, though I have a feeling a lot of you will relate to this one. I’m discussing the messiness of being multifaceted, a fancy phrase for being overcommitted and feeling stretched thin. Or, in other words, how bloody difficult it is to be committed to so many things, you feel like you can’t be fully dedicated to any.
As the semester is about to start (for both my day job and my MFA), my balancing act will need to improve once more, as I become busier and busier. As such, I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently and wanted to talk about it.
So, let’s discuss.
I’ve written about this topic before, in different ways. Probably multiple times? And what I’m labeling as “being multifaceted” could easily be simplified to “overcommitted,” if I’m being honest. Yet, I also feel like that’s too simple, because I also think there are systemic, societal issues that make this a challenge. Especially when we are naturally able (and allowed) to be interested in multiple different things. Even on top of thing we “have” to do, like make money or take care of ourselves.
Basically, I feel like everything I’m interested in (or forced to do, in some cases), I’m not able to give 100%, even if I want to. It’s like a battle, where I’m constantly trying to balance what to sacrifice in one area, so I can make room for only a tidbit in another.
Recently, I can’t help but look at all of the things I’m involved in and feeling…incomplete, in almost all of them, due to lack of time to fully commit. It’s left me feeling like I need to give up some things; to lessen being multifaceted in my interests and options, if only so I can be fully dedicated to something.
Yet, that doesn’t feel right, either. (Can you tell I’m at a bit of a loss? 🥴)
Here are a few examples of what I mean, in case my talking in circles isn’t making sense.
- Day job: This takes up the bulk of my time, so it’s almost surprising that even this feels like something I can’t be fully committed to. But there are a plenty I still can’t do. There just isn’t enough time, which frustrates me. Because, despite the toxicity, I do enjoy aspects of my job and I’m good at it. So not being able to commit fully frustrates me.
- Freelance editing: One of the bigger examples that I feel like I can’t give my all (this one also breaks my heart the most). There are so many things I want to do with my freelance editing. Yet just fitting in client work around the day job can be a struggle, so how am I supposed to do all of the things I want? Even if those things could help me grow?
- MFA: Another example where I’m less bummed by it than the editing, but I do notice it, especially recently, for some reason? As a non-traditional student, I only take one class a semester. (Trust me, that’s plenty.) Yet I’m not fully invested within the department. I don’t know most of my fellow grad students. Nor am I in any clubs or organizations. In this, I feel the lack of investment the most, so, despite being in my third year of the program, I feel like an outsider.
And those are just a few, very personal situations. But then there are other things, perhaps even more universal. Like struggling to keep up with personal hygiene, keeping the apartment clean or wanting to do organizational projects. Don’t even get me started about how this affects my writing or reading (I rant about that enough).
Systemic Issues and Solutions
Hopefully, those examples, while super personal to me, helps make a bit more sense of what I’m talking about. This might not be a universal thing. There are some people I know that, when I mention struggling with this, they look at me like that is a very surreal experience; one they cannot connect to. But I also know I’m not alone in this.
I also know that there are some systemic issues at play here. Capitalism, in particular. The way my brain has been wired to value productivity above all things and tie it to my worth. Living in America, which lacks universal healthcare or a universal income, making a day job with healthcare a necessity. Stagnant wages and rising costs making side hustles mandatory just to survive.
It’s the solutions bit of being multifaceted I’m not sure about. How do you handle feeling like you’re invested in too many things, but none of them as fully as you want to be? Yet, it’s also not to the point you’re willing to give up any of them, because you are invested. At least, not yet. Obviously, I can’t magically create more time. And while I’d love to quit my day job so I could invest in my creative interests (editing, writing, reading, etc.) more fully, my bills won’t allow it.
I dunno, friends. This is another ramble that doesn’t really go anywhere, I feel. I feel a little stuck, in a web of apprehension, fearing that I’ll never get to do everything I want to do, because I’m always attempting to balance it all. Always coming up a little short.
Tell me, though: is this something you struggle with? Where are the other Bilbo’s in the world, who feel just as stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread? 😅 If this is you, how do you deal with it? Any wisdom or advice?
Thanks for reading these rambles! Despite not coming up with any solutions myself, it feels good to write about.
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I would like to meet these people who look at you like this is a foreign concept that you have created because you just wrote my life experience and simply changed a few of the commitments.
Seriously, I just wonder how people aren’t constantly falling apart or throwing in the towel at this existence. How was this supposed to be the “dream”?
“How is this supposed to be the dream?” <-- Honestly, that's the question, isn't it? It can't be. There's no way.
This has been me since March 2020. I’m lucky my husband is able to fully support us financially, but that leaves everything household and children related to me, which hasn’t left me a lot of time to pursue avenues of how I can have any career options or hobbies of my own. Every day definitely feels like a juggling act, trying to balance getting things done, caring for people, and dealing with all the emotional, social, and mental stresses that come with being alive. I wish I had some advice, but I’m hoping to solve my problem by sending my kids to school later this month. For now, I’m settling with I’m doing what I can and, with all the demands we have these days, it’s okay with not being fully invested in everything because no sane person is capable of it, unless they somehow no longer have the ability to sleep. I wish you luck as your semester starts and things get busy!
I’m so sorry you connect with this so well, Kat (though, I feel like so many of us do, because it’s just become the norm, as sad as it is). I really hope you get a little bit of a break and better balance with the kids go to school. And I really appreciate this comment, more than you know!
Sumedha @ the wordy habitat says
I relate this so much, Nicole! Being multi-faceted for me is having my job, my blog, my social life, and also my other interests. On the days when I feel like I’m able to balance them well, I’m running myself ragged and am headed straight to burnout. On the days I take some time for myself or let myself give 100% to something, it feels like I’m behind on other things. We can never win and I would say that it’s mainly because of all the propaganda pushed on us. We’re told that we have to have everything together and do our best in all the things at once—while also working out and eating well and prepping meals etc etc.—and it’s just not possible long-term. I could write a long rant about this too. I only hope we’re all able to find a balance where we don’t feel worthless for not running ourselves ragged 🥲
Thank you so much for this comment, Sumedha! Obviously, I connect with it very much! Also, I would be VERY INTERESTED if you ended up writing your own blog post with your own rant on the topic. 👀 I would read that in a heartbeat.