When too many interests causes overwhelm

October 17, 2019

SWIRLY WHIRLY MIND = OVERWHELM

In order to keep my blog honest and real, I find myself today writing about my swirly whirly mind that is and has been feeling quite overwhelmed at times for some time.  You see, there are many things that interest me and they all swirl around in my mind competing for attention.  I want to do them all, or at least try them all, but flitting from one to another means none are done well and I am left feeling overwhelmed, confused and somewhat like a failure.

Overwhelm for me can often mean dropping ALL the balls and falling in a heap. Not very productive at all!

I don’t seem to be able to settle on one specific thing and be happy and content to remain passionate about it.  Then I could learn it and do it to the point where I become super confident about it and an expert on it!  That is what would be ideal.  Having said that though, I must acknowledge the fact that I have been consistently blogging for over seven (7) years now, and that’s gotta count for something, right?

COMPARISON TRAP

I’m finding myself often falling into the comparison trap, feeling inspired yet also envious of others who have found their ‘thing’ and are soaring and doing so well, and comparing myself to them and in doing so knocking my self-esteem down another notch or two!  This is such a damaging trap to fall into and I’m very aware of that.  Not surprisingly, I have noticed quite an escalation of this phenomena since the increased prominence of social media in my life!  It’s a big problem in society right now I believe.  I could write a whole blog post on the comparison trap and the effects of social media on our mental health, and perhaps I will!

Comparison is the thief of joy ~ Theodore Roosevelt

SEVEN YEARS LATER

In 2012 I walked away from my corporate job and never went back.  I didn’t know I’d never go back at the time but that is how it turned out.  I couldn’t go back to that life where the level of toxicity was no longer bearable for me.  That life no longer served me well.  I was fortunate that my youngest child was in her final year at school and that private school fees were nearing an end.  I was lucky to have the opportunity to ‘not work’ in order to heal and to find myself.  SEVEN YEARS LATER and I am still trying to find myself.  I still don’t know what I am supposed to be doing.  I haven’t found my thing.  I am so frustrated with myself.

INSIDE A SWIRLY WHIRLY MIND

Here’s a bit of a guide to my mind.  These are SOME of the current interests that sit in there competing for time, attention, and consideration (there are actually many, many more!):

THE BLOG

I started my first blog in September 2012 and my second blog (this one) in late October 2014 so I’ve been blogging for seven (7) years now!  Blogging in very much under my skin and in my blood now.  I love it!   It’s an extension of me.  I very much enjoy writing and being creative.  I love the connections I’ve made, the people I’ve met, the opportunities I’ve had.  Is blogging my thing?   Maybe?   But … I barely ever make any money from it?  I’m not a hugely successful blogger.  Is my blog contributing anything of value to the world?  Is it a productive and worthwhile use of my time and energy?  There are so many bloggers out there in the ‘blogosphere’ nowadays.  Again, the comparison trap often gets me.  There are so many bloggers doing very well and whilst I’m genuinely very happy for them, it’s hard not to compare yourself and kind of feel like ‘what’s the point’ when it’s done so well by so many others.  However, I believe that I will always blog because it is a part of me now.  It is the amount of time and devotion that I give to it that may ebb and flow depending on what my future might hold.

PHOTOGRAPHY

I love photography.  I love natural light photography rather than photography using artificial light.  I love photographing nature and I’m fascinated by shadows and reflections and I adore the ‘golden hour’.  I studied photography and obtained a Diploma in Professional Photography in 2014.  I thought this was my thing but when I started looking at it as a business the love went and I’m still trying to get it back.  I didn’t find any joy in taking photos that other people wanted.  I have since realised that photography was a hobby to me – an escape – a way to slow my mind and be mindful and present and it was a creative outlet.  Is photography my thing and I just went about it wrong?  I haven’t fully got the love back.  That concerns me.  Maybe I should have continued taking photographs of what I loved to photograph and then set up a gallery to sell my images.  That is the only way that photography could become a ‘career’ for me.  I am not interested in portrait photography, wedding photography, baby photography, product photography, real estate photography or any photography where I take photographs for other people.  Selfish much?!  Oh dear!

CROCHET

I love crocheting.  I find it relaxing and rewarding.  At the suggestion of others I have decided to start an Etsy shop and sell some of my crochet – just the reasonably quick to produce stuff (since there’s only me with one set of hands).  The Etsy shop isn’t open as yet.  There’s still product to be made so that I have a bit of stock and photographs to be taken and so on.  But is this my thing?  Is spending my time crocheting to keep up with orders what I want?  Will it fulfil me?

SOCIAL MEDIA / SEO / COPYWRITING 

I have a background in admin (e.g. personal assistant, project officer, policy officer, strategic planning, corporate governance, project management & so on).  Since I’ve had my blog I’ve learnt a lot about the world of social media, SEO etc.  A part of me wonders if I should extend on my corporate experience and do some study – a course in SEO, online marketing, copywriting etc and start a business offering services in those areas.  Could that be my thing?  

VOLUNTEER WORK

I feel like I need to be giving back to society.  I’ve considered volunteering.  Where would I volunteer?  I love animals.  To be honest, though I do love people, I think that I have more of an affinity with animals than people.  I would love to help save the lives of animals that might otherwise be euthanised.  I am considering becoming a foster carer.  I’m realistic though.  I don’t have the right set up (no huge yard – it’s all pool) or the energy or right temperament or mindset to care for adult animals that require a lot of time, training and exercise.  However, I do have the right set up, energy, mindset and temperament (maternal and nurturing genes are through the roof) to care for the babies.  I’m interested in neonatal care – looking after the babies from birth to when they are ready for adoption.  I don’t think this is the highest area of need though but that is the area that would suit me.  I have sent my expression of interest to the RSPCA but haven’t heard back as yet.  Because I haven’t heard back yet, my internal dialogue is already trying to talk me out of it.  “They don’t want you”.  “It’s not the area where they need help”.  “Maybe you’re crazy to do this anyway” and on it goes.  Will I hear back from them?  Is this my thing?  

ART

There was a time that I thought I might be good at art.  I dabbled.  I enjoyed painting and tried all different mediums.  I did some mosaics too and enjoyed that.  I’ve never got back to it.  There’s a place local to me that offers art classes that I’m interested in attending … but that’s just another thing.  My mind gets so crowded.  It’s not that I think that art could be my thing (I’m not that good!).  It’s just that I think art is something I could be good at and enjoy and I feel it’s been neglected and overlooked and I should pursue it … but there’s only so many hours in a day! 

WRITE A BOOK

I have always fancied the thought of writing a book.  I’m not sure what that book would be about just yet, but it’s a little dream – another little swirly whirly in this ‘ol mind of mine!

TO STRIVE TO MAKE MONEY OR NOT

I’m not quite ready for ‘traditional’ retirement.  I’d still like to earn ‘some’ money.  I don’t strive to earn ‘big’ money (being happy, fulfilled and content is far more important to me these days) but I’d like to have some of my own money so I can buy a few things that I’d like when I’d like to and to help cover the costs associated with running this blog!  I don’t want to be super busy anymore.  Stress is not welcome around here and I like a slower pace nowadays.  I’d just like to have purpose and earn a little to moderate amount of money.

LIFE NECESSITIES 

In addition to those ‘interests’ swirling around in my mind there are also that realities of life that also have to be factored into my days:

  • HOUSEWORK – no avoiding it!
  • MEAL PLANNING / SHOPPING / COOKING – ugh – never ends!
  • PLANTS / GARDEN – need to be tended to
  • AVA (my dog) – to walk/feed/entertain
  • EXERCISE – regular exercise needs to be factored in 
  • FAMILY & FRIENDS – making time for immediate and extended family, and friends

…. and then there are all the books I’d like to read and crafts I’d like to learn and so on and so on … !!

SELF SABOTAGE

I am terribly good at self sabotage.  I get an idea.  I start taking steps to hit goals and achieve my idea.  I can be quite obsessed and gung ho and then – BOOM – the change happens!  I proceed to the next phase which is self doubt and talking myself out of it.  I believe it must stem from a lack of self belief and fear of failure.  Oops!

We sabotage the great things in our lives because deep down we don’t feel worthy of having the great things ~ Taressa Riazzi

TO WRAP UP

So I know I need to get a grip on the comparison trap & self sabotage thangs!  It’s a  matter of understanding triggers and why those thoughts come into my brain and finding ways to combat those!  AND I need a bit of a mental declutter – work my way through all my varying interests, try and prioritise them somehow and hopefully eventually find MY thing (the thing that really lights me up!).  Maybe my thing is not yet identified and not even listed above?  

If you follow me on social media you’d know that I’ve just purchased Marie Forleo’s book ‘Everything is Figureoutable‘.  I’m hopeful that this might help me by providing some tools to help find a little clarity and ways to combat the ‘comparison trap’ and ‘self sabotage’ hurdles.

I do believe that all the interests that come my way are for a reason.  They are little clues that are leading me to what my thing is.  I just haven’t cottoned on yet!  The journey to find it is not always a quick one, and most certainly hasn’t been in my case, but I do believe that one day the fogs will clear and there it will be, clear as day and I’ll wonder why I hadn’t realised much sooner.

Do you know what your *thing* is?  Have you experienced overwhelm by having too many interests?  

Ciao for now,

 

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17 Comments

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee October 17, 2019 at 7:02 am

    Is it too many interests? YOu just need to prioritise them. But it’s good to have lots of things on the boil, so you’re engaged.

    • Reply Min October 17, 2019 at 10:55 am

      It is great to have some variety and options and yes I agree I need to try and prioritise them. The problem is they are cluttering up my mind too much and I very much would like to identify what my main purpose is. It’s kinda hard to explain.

  • Reply Joanne Tracey October 17, 2019 at 8:14 am

    A very thought-provoking post. As a Gemini, you need multiple interests & may not have a “one” thing. Following your curiosity is what it’s about. Swirly-whirly mind though is the trap. The astrologer in me would urge you to get in touch with your opposite sign ie Sagittarius & look not just at the detail of all these things but the bigger picture ie the theme. Is there something that each of these things has in common? Your crocheting hobby is also pure Gemini – the sign of Gemini rules the fingers & fine motor skills #forthebookofuselessknowledge I’m struggling with the same things at the moment & am seriously considering (ironically given what I’ve just written) walking away from my astro blog. I can’t do everything & I need to prioritise. In my case, I’m looking at my opposite sign – Virgo & being critical & discriminating about what I keep & what I step back from. Let me know if you need a chat…xxx

    • Reply Min October 17, 2019 at 10:59 am

      It’s so interesting that you raise the Gemini thing Jo … because I nearly included a whole paragraph questioning whether it was my Gemini traits causing me trouble …. but decided it made the post too long so deleted that bit. As a Gemini I tend to have lots of things on the go, get bored easily, and jump from one thing to another. I know that but it’s driving me nuts cos I want more clarity and I want to zero in more on a purpose. The swirly whirly mind is not great – you’re right! I would LOVE to chat. Your astrologer know how is fascinating and besides you’re always great fun to chat to, very insightful and I love your perspectives. I’ll get in touch! xo

  • Reply Natalie October 17, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Hi Min – I hope you find Forleo’s book helpful. Looks like you already have a plan, i.e. to do a mental declutter and prioritize your interests. Perhaps you can rank each of your interests and focus on the top three for the next X number of months to see how it goes. #lovinlifelinky

    • Reply Min October 17, 2019 at 11:01 am

      Thanks Natalie – I’m hopeful the book will help too. It requires doing some homework!! I’ve stalled a bit cos I’m trying to find a notebook to write it (but I’ll get into it – don’t worry). We’re told to handwrite our homework – no keyboard/typing allowed. Thanks for your great ideas! I’m determined to sort this head of mine out somehow! 🙂 xo

  • Reply suzanne vosbikian October 17, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Min, when I get those feelings I remind myself of a very harsh quote by Theodore Roethke, ‘a mind too active is no mind at all.’ Most of my zany ideas are not grounded in reality, or even something that I truly want for myself when I think them through. You sound like a very accomplished woman and I admire the variety of interests and marketable skills you noted. There is certainly a lot of potential there, it is just a matter of finding what fulfills you. Best of luck sorting through the maze.

    • Reply Min October 23, 2019 at 11:01 am

      Thanks Suzanne! I like that quote because it’s very true! When my mind gets too active, there are too many things swirling around in there and it becomes useless as overwhelm hits and then I shut down and all productivity comes to a halt. A self preservation strategy I guess. It’s something I need to get a handle on so as to avoid it happening. I do hope I can whittle down my interests to a manageable amount and with some clarity of what my *thing* or *things* might be! xo

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au October 17, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Min – I’ve battled through this at times as well. I think I’m good at lots of things – but not fabulously good at anything enough that I’d want to turn it into a living. I find that when I do something on a “hobby” level I love it, when it needs to go to the next level it becomes a “selling my soul” issue and I don’t want to put in all the effort and have it turn into a “job”. I think everyone would love to make a living from what they love, but few people do – and those who do would have to admit that there is a lot of hard work and drudgery involved in the process.
    As far as blogging goes, I’m so glad my blog costs me nothing – any money I make from it is just “lolly money” for me and doesn’t need to go towards paying for the blog. I haven’t got the salesmanship to be trying to drum up sponsors and cold calling or emailing businesses. I looked into the whole VA thing too but working to promote/sustain other people’s blogs doesn’t appeal either. So I’m sticking with blogging because it’s a fun hobby.
    The whole retirement thing is such an elephant in the room for a lot of us – I think it has a lot of negative connotations that we have to get past. Being able to live life on our own terms and not be in a toxic work environment (that seems to be becoming the new “norm” for workplaces!) is such a blessing and I’m learning to be grateful for it. The unicorn job may never appear and I’m okay with that – good luck on your search because you have a lot of creative skills that may lead into marketable skills with enough time and effort – your unicorn might be just around the corner! xx

    • Reply Min October 23, 2019 at 11:08 am

      Hi Leanne – yes I seem to be Jill of lots of trades but master of none which drives me crazy. I know what you mean about trying to turn a hobby into a living. It doesn’t always work. I know that from photography. When I tried to turn that into a business I completely lost the love for it. It’s hard to know sometimes until you try. I’m with you on being able to live life without being in a toxic work environment. Sadly it is too commonplace and so soul destroying. I’m so thankful I no longer have to live that way. I’m not sure exactly what it is I’m looking for but I guess I would like to live my days with a sense of purpose and pride and feel like I am contributing to the world and when the time comes that I leave this world … I hope that I leave somewhat of a legacy – even if it’s just that I was a kind and caring person who contributed something and will be remembered fondly. xo

  • Reply Denyse Whelan October 18, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    Oh my goodness, this sounds very familiar. I know I am significantly older than you but it has taken me ‘getting cancer’ to work out what I need to be interested in (and can fit in) and what I can let go.
    I did the ‘should’ volunteer thing but felt patronised and did not like the places. I do volunteer as an Ambassador for Head and Neck Cancer and that is enough.
    What I still love is the blog and my connections with fellow bloggers and readers. Thank you for being one.
    I also put MUCH less pressure on myself to be productive and now enjoy my hobby of art for the processes and much as the outcomes. You “will” work things out by rejecting what does not feel right first.
    I promise!

    Denyse. #lovinlifelinky

    • Reply Min October 23, 2019 at 11:12 am

      Ohh Denyse I’m so glad you’ve found your *things* but I’m sad it took getting cancer for you to find it. I hope I don’t have to get cancer to find my *thing/s*. I do love blogging and know that it will be something I continue for quite some time (thank you to you too for being one of my blogging buddies!) but there is something missing and I hope that I eventually find what it is. xo

  • Reply Leslie Susan Clingan October 20, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    I am so excited to have found you through the Wonderful Wednesday link-up that I skimmed the last part of the post just to come introduce myself and to say you sound just like ME!!! I can say ditto and me, too, to almost everything you have written. I am a dabbler, and jill of all trades and master of none. Spreading myself too thin. Not finishing projects. Love animals. Perhaps we are twins separated from birth?

    Going back up now to read the rest of the post. But I almost have whiplash from nodding my head in agreement to everything you wrote and I couldn’t wait to tell you!!

    Your new fan,
    Leslie at onceuponatimehappilyeverafter.com

    • Reply Min October 23, 2019 at 11:15 am

      Wow – how fabulous to find someone with qualities like me? Yes – a dabbler, jill of all trades and master of none, spreading myself too thin, getting bored easy, not finishing projects, love animals. Even the skipping ahead to comment in excitement before you finished reading the post is like me! Amazing! LOL I will pop over to your blog for a visit and get to know you better soon! xo

  • Reply Di from Max The Unicorn October 21, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Yes, I experience this a lot! I’m nearly always overwhelmed with the amount of things I have to do, from blogging to managing and posting on two IG account, other social media, to photographing products that come in and then there’s all the necessary housework on top of that, as you say!

    Di from Max The Unicorn

    • Reply Min October 23, 2019 at 11:16 am

      Why do we do it to ourselves?! LOL It’s nuts, but fun, but crazy! Sigh! xo

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit October 24, 2019 at 6:24 am

    My life is constant overwhelm! LOL. Actually, that’s not true. While ever they all peak at different times it’s fine, but when they’re all peaking together … then holy shit … I think “why the hell do I do these things?”

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