Good golly, I am SO guilty of this. When you're interested in and want to be a part of everything, feeling a door could open in any direction at any time, I understand it's enticing to keep tacking on another item on the "to-do" list. Really though, does it need to be done? When I was in high school, and most of all college, I had no less than forty things on my to-do list at a time - most of them time consuming, highly involved and stressful. It got to the point where I was doing so much that I drove myself into a depressive and manic state, resulting in an intense anxiety attack the night before a performance I was acting in and directing.
If what you are spending your time doing on a daily basis doesn't run in line with your ultimate dream and what you feel your purpose on this Earth is, the answer is - you probably should be spending what precious time you have on what's most important to you. Obviously you should spend time with your family and friends that build you up, and taking the time to do things to find out who you are in the beginning, but when it comes to things that you're the least bit "eh" about - the real answer should be, "Thank you, but nope, nope, and nope."
If You say Yes to Everyone Else, You'll never be able to say yes to yourself
This is where it gets tricky. Sometimes, when you're on the path to finding yourself, it's obviously good to keep your options open, because they could lead to who you're supposed to be! My freshman year in Los Angeles, one of my dear friend's was a dancer and they asked me if I'd shoot a concept dance video with her and her boyfriend. Before this point, had I ever shot a concept dance video before? Nope. But I tried it, because I didn't know exactly what kind of director/filmmaker I wanted to be then. Now, shooting dance is one of my favorite things to do and I try to incorporate it anything I can regarding visual art. Also, that dancer and her boyfriend - Katy and Dennis - are two of my dearest friends whom I've met in LA, who also happened to help me find myself! The same kind of story happened with me in photography and acting, and I'm grateful for those experiences.
It takes these experiences to help you realize what it is you truly want to do, but once you understand what that thing that gets you out of bed in the morning is, you need to allow yourself the time to hone that craft. You can't say yes to everything the world is asking of you and make your dreams happen at the same time. Learn to say "yes," to yourself first.
Tacking too much on wears and tears at your body like an angry and ferocious rabbit
It's true. Even though you might not realize it, each time you tack on another thing to do, the more your body breaks down and becomes exhausted. Slowly but surely, the amount of needless work will take little bites of energy and satisfaction out of you over time - like a ferocious and angry rabbit taking tiny but detrimental bites. Whether it's stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation, malnutrition, or an awful combination of all of these things - losing sense of your time management can take a major toll on your body. This causes you to not only do anything because of your state of health, but can really mess with how you perceive things and yourself in the future.
When putting too much of your energy into things that don't truly matter to you, support you, or satisfy you and where you want to be, it can do more harm than good.
With No fulfillment comes depressive states
If you are continually spending your life and time doing work that doesn't actually satisfy your soul, it results in just going through the motions of things and making decisions without a true passion - creating a less than satisfactory outcome. If you want to be a painter, but instead are filing paperwork - something that is most definitely not even close to what you'd rather be doing, your soul and purpose aren't being fulfilled. This allows your perception of life to dwindle into something that has no meaning, and it's because you're not spending it doing what you love - which is the point of it all anyway. We can't take our money with us when we die, but we can cherish the things we love, and leave it behind for others to admire as well.
You lose track of Why you Started Doing EVerything in The First Place
If you have forty things going on and once, and they're all there because you thought they would help you to get to where you wanted to go, but so much time has passed and you've forgotten the reason you decided to do all of these things in the first place. When your life is made up of, let's say, going to set for fourteen hours each day and being a Production Assistant, and having this job go on for ten years, you forgot that you started doing that job to help you become a director. Now you've spent ten years of your life doing a job you only needed to do for maybe a few years, making other people's movies, and not spending that time making your own. The same thing goes for if you work in a company where you believe you'll make connections to get where you want to be, not at all desiring to move up to a higher position - then having several years pass and you're an executive at the company - never having left to pursue your dream because everything became too comfortable and familiar.
If it feels like an "eh," It's really a "Nope."
Though this is said time and time again, if an opportunity comes up and you have that feeling in your stomach saying, "eh, this isn't actually something I want to do," then for heaven's sakes don't do it. Your time on this earth is valuable and irreplaceable. Don't spend something so precious on things that don't make you the slightest bit excited and happy. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, like going to your least favorite cousin's birthday party. Also, if your best friend is asking you to do something and it's not entirely your jam, share that you will support them in any other way, but if their work isn't something that you feel like you can contribute to in an honest way because it doesn't excite you, you'll be doing them no harm than good. I know that's hard, but sometimes you need to do what's best for you - and your friend. Spend that time on you and honing your craft.
Spend Time doing and Becoming an Expert on What you Want Most
If you know what you want to do with your life, don't set up time for any distractions. Be specific in what makes you happy, and every moment you possibly can to hone that skill and become an expert on it. Read about it. Write about. Practice it every day no matter what it is. Dedicate your life to what you love most and never look back. After all this life is yours, no one else's. Make it the masterpiece you envision and dream about every day.
Mary Gabrielle Strause