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my eyes are bigger than my stomach
taking on more than you can handle
by maigen thomas (@Maigen)
2.23.09
general

What happens when you have so much on your proverbial plate that you literally don't know where to start or what to do? Or you're scared of taking that first 'bite' because you might not like it? Or it turns out to not be what you wanted? Or you're so locked into analyzing what might be or could be or should be you completely fail to take action at all?

I am staring at this plate of mine, and it looks huge. Daunting. I am not so much holding onto my fork as I am grasping for a handhold in an overwhelming situation, and four inches of 18/10 stainless steel isn't as comfortable to grip as one might think.

The month started out fine. It really did. The plate was salad-size and manageable. I knew I had a column due on the 19th. I knew I had a May 1st deadline for the screenplay I'm co-writing. I knew I had some good trips on my schedule (for those unaware, I'm a flight attendant) and I knew I was going on vacation to Mexico for four days starting the 11th. It was all quantified, qualified and … something-else-fied. I knew where I was and what needing doing.

On February 2nd, I refused to accept a trip from scheduling (a decision, I'm convinced, that has had a lot to do with the events that followed), which landed me in trouble with my boss. I stood my ground because I felt that I refused the trip for the right reason (a complicated situation having to do with flight attendant seniority and the fact that the company changed certain computer programs without telling anyone, thus causing requests that were considered “until further notice” to be rendered null and void. I was pissed, of course). I lost quite a bit of pay because I refused the trip, but like a soldier who feels it's the Good Fight, I carried on.

Then, on the 8th, I got bad news about my grandfather. He hasn't done well for over a year now, he's been on oxygen and is quite elderly and frail. It has been one of those 'when, not if' situations. I thought I had come to terms with the eventuality of his passing. And, to an extent, I had. I just wasn't prepared for getting a call from my completely distraught mother. I wasn't prepared for it to be so soon. I still have a thank you card that I forgot to mail him and my grandmother. I wonder if he knew how much I appreciated him and the fact that they always remembered my birthday and Christmas? I sincerely hope so.

On the 11th of February, I went to Mexico with a friend, a trip that had been planned and paid for a month in advance. I took my computer with the best intentions of getting at least my column done. Who was I kidding? I was in Mexico at an all-inclusive resort. I didn't even make it to the pool. I didn't stray more than 50 yards from a bar for four days. It was exactly what I needed, too. I exorcised my sadness and frustration through a ridiculous amount of tequila and wine (a combination I do NOT recommend).

I didn't even unpack my computer upon my return to Atlanta, I selfishly stayed in my little bubble of happiness. I cooked and watched mindless television (Fawlty Towers, anyone?) and stayed hidden from the world until I realized I had to go back sometime – and that sometime was for a trip on the 19th.

Which reminded me that I had a column due on the 19th. And I have urgent emails in my inbox asking for my "2008 in Review" column. And even MORE urgent emails saying the due date for the screenplay is now set at three weeks instead of three months. And requests from friends and family to get in touch because they haven't heard from me in ages.

I've always been a procrastinator. I put off difficult or important decisions until the time limit has passed and they're made for me. But there comes a point in time when you realize you can't do that anymore, because its your life. YOUR life and no one else can make these difficult decisions for you. My plate will stay full, and I haven't even decided what my first bite will be.

But then, here's my February column.

Essentially, it boils down to this. When my plate is full, I'm afraid of commiting to any action for fear that it ends up being the wrong one. I'm afraid that by taking control of my own future – my own destiny – I'm going to completely fuck it up.

That's what procrastination is, isn't it? Fear of commitment. Fear of the future. Fear of failure. Fear of success. But I have to make a move, because otherwise I'll spend the rest of my life wondering if I could have been something different.


ABOUT MAIGEN THOMAS

Maigen is simple. is smart. is wholesome. is skeevy. is spicy. is delicate. is better. is purer. is 100% more awesome than yesterday. She';s traveling the world and writing about her experiences with life, love, yoga, food, travel and people. Mostly people. Because they';re funny. hear more of her random thoughts @maigen on twitter.

more about maigen thomas

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COMMENTS

sandra thompson
2.23.09 @ 9:30p

Time was invented to keep everything from happening at once, but it doesn't always work.



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