“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” -Greg McKeown
Overwhelm is the devil. And the most frustrating thing about it, is that by the time I feel it coming on, it’s too late. If it’s here, then long ago I set myself up with too much to do and too little time to do it. I’m probably also disorganized and not practicing the art of saying no. I’ve learned, as a multi-passionate ENFP 7 who wants to experience everything the world has to offer and more, that when it comes to tasks I give myself, I overassign, and I am not satisfied unless I rock the execution hard and perfectly. Dating myself is no different. And dating myself often suffers along with everything else.
However, in the new year I have turned my back on the hustle life and the overwhelm it brings me. After random health issues (never a coincidence), a lot of progress along with a lot of confusion (a result of unchecked disorganization), and straight up standing myself up on dates I was initially excited about, I knew it was time to commit to the change. To simplify. And with that I refined my “date yourself” premise.
The 1 Essential Rule to Dating Yourself This Year:
BE A DIVA ABOUT CHOICE.
Right now, I give you permission to BE A DIVA ABOUT CHOICE.
“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” When I read this in Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism, I could have stood up and cheered. I think, sitting on my living room couch, I did give it a “whoop!” If you are at all like me, you have spent a decent amount of your time subscribed to the “hustle” life: “Get it Done”, “Rise and Grind”, “The Hustle Don’t Sleep,” and on and on and on. This mentally trained me to always look for the next work to do, the next event to attend, the next apparatus to grind down my day, the next way to prove myself. It meant jumping at every opportunity, to turn the word “yes” into a way of life.
Before I knew it, I was worn to the ragged edge. Nothing was fun. Even when it came to having drinks with my girls, I wanted to do it with a purpose. But most of the time, I was so tired and crazed that all I could do was zone out in front of the television. And much of this burnout, actually, I feel that all of it, can be attributed to trying to do everything and doing nothing to my potential.
Much of this burnout, actually, I feel that all of it, can be attributed to trying to do everything and doing nothing to my potential.
So, for me, it was time to prune, purge, and get serious about choice. So what does this have to do with dating yourself? If you are overextended doing things you truly don’t care about, or haven’t thought through, and the effort leaves you exhausted, dazed, and confused, then you have nothing left for yourself and your own playtime.
I’ve written a lot about spending my entire weekend in front of the television but desiring to be a sexy-in-the-city girl-about-town living my best life. Up until now, I have been trying to accomplish that from sheer grit and and will. It doesn’t matter how busy my week is! I’m going to live my best life on the weekend. I’m going to travel, Salsa, play poker, learn French, and have better manners than Jackie Kennedy could ever dream of!
What ends up happening is that even if I get to my intended excursion, I’m exhausted, critical, or haven’t planned appropriately to enjoy myself to the fullest, like when I arrived in Palm Springs six hours late wanting nothing more than bell service and a bed. That night included me at a bar staring into my Malbec trying to hold back tears. Ain’t nothing “sexy in the city” about that.
This is not about ignoring your job or tasks that you hate, but it is about choosing. Let’s take the job. There was a long time in my career where money was a huge issue. At the beginning of my acting and writing career, I wasn’t able to sustain myself with that work alone, so I was always hustling to get in more income. Any job I was offered, I took — cocktail waitressing, coaching, retail, office work, crew work — whatever came my way. Often, this meant that I was working every day, sometimes running from a job that ended at 2 a.m., to a booking that started at 8 a.m., then when that booking wrapped at 6 p.m., it was off to another job that started at 8 p.m.
Even as my income increased and the need to hustle decreased, I found myself following the same habits that the hustle bred. I was constantly offering to do more than what was required of me, thinking this is what it meant to be successful and a worthy team member. The thing is, my actual work, the work I was hired for, suffered because my energy was split in a million directions. And when this started to affect my health (more about that in an upcoming article), I was in real trouble.
And because I was worked to the bone, whenever I got any free time, all I wanted to do was zone out.
I couldn’t care less about being in a fabulous city. As a matter of fact, the effort to get to that city seemed far from worth it.
I couldn’t care less about being in a fabulous city. As a matter of fact, the effort to get to that city seemed far from worth it. The idea of doing some of the items on my list, like Salsa or poker, seemed fine and well, until I started thinking about how late I might get home (11 p.m. on a work night is past my bedtime) and if it was worth it.
The thing is, I was worked to the bone with random commitments I was assigning to myself. So what I had to think about was which of those commitments actually made a difference to my ultimate goal? And if they didn’t, I chugged it.
The idea that “if you give and give to everything else, you have nothing left for yourself” is no new concept. But for me, it was overshadowed by the idea that “the hustle and the grind makes the sun shine.” I am learning it does not. And if the sun happens to be shining, it doesn’t matter, because I am probably not enjoying it. But to break that habit of “hustle thought,” an idea that is force fed to us through media, I am learning how truly committed one must be to the power of choice.
What being a “diva about choice” is ultimately about is committing to doing the things that are truly important to you, and discarding everything else.And this year, I commit to practicing it. It means writing out those goals and resolutions, focusing in on the ones that mean the most, and getting rid of the rest. It means focusing on the work that makes the most difference, and saying no to random tasks that don’t.
As I have said before, dating yourself is really about taking the time to practice self love.
As I have said before, dating yourself is really about taking the time to practice self love. It’s time to eliminate what doesn’t matter so that you can enjoy what does. These choices take courage, and they take self honesty and accountability. But for me, and the intentional and amazing life I desire to live, they are essential. And at the end of the day, we’re worth it.