Letting Go

I have a problem: I try to work on too many projects at once. As I’ve told my wife, if I had a thousand lifetimes, I could happily devote each one to mastering a different pursuit. I end up trying to cram it all into one lifetime. It doesn’t always work.

Here are the projects I’m working on right now:

This actually isn’t too crowded, by my standards. The journal only takes a few minutes each night, the pen twirling I do in my spare time, and the exercise is pretty quick because I’m not, like, hardcore. The blog has its own built-in mechanism for not wasting too much time, and the “new topic each week” thing isn’t bad either.

Story-writing and AI development are the only major time sinks, which generally means I have to focus on only one at a time. For the past week or so, it’s been AI.

To give you a sense of how much worse this project-hoarding can get, here’s a partial list of projects I’ve given up (or at least put on long-term hold) in the past year or two. I say “partial” because I’m sure there are lots more I’m forgetting.

  • Go
  • Zen
  • Learning Italian
  • Learning Chinese
  • Improving my Spanish
  • Juggling
  • Karate
  • Rubik’s Cube
  • Dvorak typing
  • Tennis
  • A previous blog, Coffee With Sargeras
  • Writing articles for the now-defunct website Insulin Funk
  • An idea on how to raise money for charity using video games

Letting go of a project is always hard for me. A lot of these efforts had gotten pretty far before I stopped. I could solve a Rubik’s cube in about three minutes (though I’ve since forgotten the patterns). I could touch-type in Dvorak at a pretty decent speed. I could juggle three balls, and two in one hand, and do all sorts of tricks. Coffee With Sargeras was pretty successful – and a lot of fun – before I finally decided to end it. And Zen…well, Zen was Zen.

Karate was particularly hard to give up. I had done it for over three years, reached black belt, got to really like a lot of people in the class. But I had to stop.

Why?

Projects compete for many different kinds of resources. Sometimes lack of time is the deciding factor. Sometimes it’s mental energy. And sometimes it’s sanity.

I know there are people who can thrive on being nonstop busy, scheduling every waking moment. I am not one of those people. I need peace, simplicity, quiet.

Karate was a good thing, but I had too many good things.

What have you let go lately?

8 responses to “Letting Go

  1. “I know there are people who can thrive on being nonstop busy, scheduling every waking moment. I am not one of those people. I need peace, simplicity, quiet.”

    That’s a great reminder to me, especially since I just read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and was overcome by a sense of how much that author and her kids get done in one day, versus how little I sometimes do. I suppose the key for me now is to make sure I walk the right line between peace/simplicity and pushing myself to work harder.

    One of the big things I “let go” of, honestly, was my job. I took a chance about 10 months ago and quit, wanting to pursue writing full time. (And I’m incredibly lucky that I could do that.) It was a scary move, but it also felt right. As you say, my resources were being competed for, and I/my writing couldn’t thrive that way.

  2. I’m sort of trying to both simplify and complicate my life at the same time. I need to simplify or I’m not gonna get anything done, but I also have so many ideas that could prove useful. It’s hard to balance it all and know what to give up.

    Things I’ve given up…for now.

    Music (violin and piano).
    Art (though I’m gonna take it back up).
    Basketball (good riddance)
    Learning Japanese
    Filmmaking/Scriptwriting
    Going to the Movies (sigh, okay I know not really a project, but i really miss it).
    Kung-Fu (didn’t get really far though…but LOVED it)
    Exercise
    Working on one of my novels (Eternals).

    I know there should be more…just can’t think of them right now…

    The projects I am working on now are…

    My Blog
    Secret 2nd Blog project
    Learning how to increase my Income via Internet
    Stock Photography
    Writing Course(s)/Books
    Learning how to draw
    Writing stories/novels (Savior Collection, Beasts)
    Learning how to write scripts for comics

    And of course…

    Pets
    Cooking
    My brother
    House Maintenance
    Christmas
    Part-time Job

    Which are also projects, though I suppose projects I can’t exactly give up. But you add those with the side projects above and you can see how a life can get really busy.

  3. I started writing in high school, so I basically gave up the typical high school experience, including extracurricular activities. (In the end, this is probably okay.) More recently, I gave up being a musician after graduating with a degree in music. I still miss it, and sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the thought of the skills I’ve lost in the last couple of years, but ultimately it was the right choice. Writing comes first, and there are only so many hours in a day.

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