“So much time, and so little to do! Strike that, reverse it.”
- Willie Wonka in the film, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Lately, I have been longing for a few things: a personal assistant, a business manager, a cleaning lady, a week's vacation on a deserted island, and last, but not least, an eighth day in the week, so that I can just get on top of the pile of "stuff to do" that continues to grow. For some reason I thought that when the Paley Summer School program ended I would feel a weight lift and have so much more time. Same thing when I finished up the Kaufman Center last week. How can it be that I'm still struggling to keep up?
And I guess the answer is that I happen to be really good at continuing to give myself things to do. Call it ambition, call it determination or simply call it being a workaholic, just when I'm about to complete a task or a project, I've already got my sights set on the next one. I attribute my need to constantly be "doing" this or that, to a few things.
On the positive and healthy side of things, much of what drives me is love, passion and excitement for what I'm doing. It makes me happy to be immersed in my work, whatever that may be. I've also always been a very "purposeful" person. I have multiple "to do" lists, and even write up "schedules" for my leisure activities on the weekends. Kind of scary, but at least it means I'm able to fit in some fun along with all the work I do. And when I look back at my life, I have a deep sense of gratification for all that I have achieved and experienced thus far.
On the less positive side, I can be really hard on myself. I can push myself to extremes that I would never ask of anyone else that I respect, love or care about. And, honestly, some of this drive to "do" comes from a sense of insecurity and fear. It's that feeling of, "what if this project completely fails and I've invested all this time and energy into it?" The, "I must be working on 16 endeavors and projects simultaneously, because one is bound to make it big and I won't be a failure!" You know, the "don't put all your eggs in one basket" theory. While I absolutely believe that to be true, I think that it might be in my best interest (and same for all you other workaholics out there) to make some of my "baskets" things like being a great friend and daughter, becoming an excellent cook or gardener, being able to sit for 20 minutes and meditate without feeling the need to check my email, or simply, to be the best "What Not to Wear" television viewer out there.
So for me, the biggest challenge in this Helen endeavor, has nothing to do with artistry and writing, or mastery over the business aspects of theatrical development--it's much more about how to follow a dream or achieve a goal without losing the balance that gives life its meaning. As much as I love Helen, I can't let her swallow me up and consume me. I've got to maintain a sense of perspective and remember that this, after all, is a musical we are talking about.
And, anyway, if there actually was an eighth day in the week, I'm sure I'd find a way to fill it up with work. For now, I'll take the seven days I've got and try to change my habits...and perhaps look into getting a cleaning lady.