One of my mentors once told me that she tries to be the best version of herself wherever she is. When she is at a city council meeting, she tries to be the best city councilor that she can be. When she leaves the city council meeting and goes home to her family, she tries to be the best wife and mother she can be. When she goes to her day job, she tries to be the best there too. When she’s at home, she’s not trying to be the best city councilor, and when she’s at work, she’s not trying to be the best mom. She focuses on what she is there to do and does it to the best of her abilities.
This advice speaks to me. Be who you are, be where you are, and do the best that you can. But it’s not advice that I completely understand how to follow yet. When I am at practice, I want to live, breathe, eat and sleep roller derby. On the drive home, I want everything that I do to reflect my ambitions at the expense of all else. I know that isn’t healthy, but that’s what I want.
Then I get home, start reading or writing, and change directions completely. Suddenly, I’m drafting schedules so that I can fit in two more hours of writing each day. I’m making reading lists like I’m in graduate school. I want to be single-minded and dedicated to being a writer at the expense of all else. Sound familiar?
I go to work. I work hard. And I leave, wondering what else I can do to push myself further, to be a better leader, a better asset for G.S. I want to take Spanish classes, I want to watch feminist documentaries, I want to lead a protest.
And how does this relate to money? New wheels cost money. Spanish classes cost money. Books cost money when you can’t get them at the library. I can’t do all of it at once.
What I want changes sometimes from hour to hour, but my ambition remains the same. I want to be the best that I can be at everything, I always have. I have mastered the first part of the advice. I want to be the best. But I haven’t learned to take off my helmet when I get home, and to feel okay about it. It’s that second part—being where you are, that gets me. Fear of Missing Out, I think the kids are calling it these days.
So where am I right now? I’m making soup and bread, feeling good after this morning’s workout. For the rest of today and tomorrow, I will try to balance these things, find a way to make them all fit. Being the best writer I can be. The best derby player I can be. Throw in work somewhere after that. Bills have to be paid, after all.