My overwhelming emotional state lately is, well, overwhelm.
Only yesterday it occurred to me why.
I mean, aside from the obvious fact that I have way too much to do and not enough time to do it, and that information is flying at me at a rate that’s way beyond what human beings have evolved to absorb.
Which, of course, makes me no different from everyone else I know.
No, this overwhelm has a different, more manic quality than the day-to-day so-much-to-do-so-little-time variety overwhelm. And when I sat still long enough to get acquainted with my overwhelm and ask it about itself, I finally recognized it.
Because it turns out this particular variety of overwhelm is a familiar state to me. It’s the I’ve-discovered-a-new-passion-and-am-immersing-myself-in-it-in-an-attempt-to-learn-everything-there-is-to-know-about-it-and-preferably-master-it-in-as-little-time-as-possible variety of overwhelm.
My latest Bliss to follow: Blogging
It seems that the world of blogging is my latest passion. I pick up a new Bliss every five or ten years or so, and every time I do, my M.O. is to dive in head-first, and inevitably get re-acquainted with this learning-a-new-thing overwhelm.
I only “discovered” this new creative outlet of blogging a couple of months ago, so although my insides feel like total chaos and like I’m going to explode, in fact it’s just part of my process, and all happening right on schedule.
What a relief to realize!
My Old Friend, The Learning-A-New-Thing Discovery Phase
My first encounter with this variety of overwhelm was when I discovered dance as a teenager. I fell madly, passionately in love, and within a matter of months I was dancing three to six hours a day, every day.
And spending much energy desperately wanting to be instantly really good at it.
And spending much energy lamenting that I wasn’t.
In fact, I did have a natural facility for dance, but unless (perhaps) you’re a born genius (another thing I spent much energy lamenting I wasn’t)(and the very existence of which is debatable, if Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers is to be believed), learning to dance well does not happen overnight.
Like any creative or physical skill, mastering the art of dance is a process that takes years. It’s the accumulation of countless tiny, baby step improvements over time.
Years later I went through the same process when learning calligraphy. And later learning to dance salsa (which, it turns out, requires a somewhat different skill set, and has a somewhat different learning curve than modern dance). And later learning to sing jazz.
I have by no means achieved complete mastery of any of these skills, but I have, thankfully, gotten past the manic early phase of trying to eat it all up right now.
Because that’s what it feels like. Vegetarians, forgive the carnivorous simile, but this particular variety of overwhelm feels a lot like trying to eat an elephant in one sitting.
Impossible, of course.
And the key, I’ve found, to getting past the overwhelm is simply accepting this impossibility.
Just floating downstream… without paddling
So today I made a conscious effort to just allow myself to be where I am. To trust that I will learn what I want to know, and develop the skills that I want to develop, all in the fullness of time.
I decided not to read each and every blogging and creativity and build-the-life-of-your-dreams newsletter that I’m subscribed to.
I decided not to try so hard.
I decided to stop paddling for a moment, and just float downstream.
And most of all, I decided to accept and embrace and forgive myself for my sometimes frustrating, somewhat obsessive Renaissance Woman patterns (because, honestly, I think life would be a lot easier if I could just be happy focusing on one thing only, but that just ain’t likely to happen in this lifetime).
Just like every other Bliss I’ve chosen to follow, blogging comes with its own skill set and learning curve. And I get to enjoy exactly where I am right now, while I take those baby steps to move forward.