Rule for Intrepid Living #70: You Can’t Have It All

Recent circumstances have me thinking about what it means to expend all your time, energy, and money. To, perhaps, overextend yourself. I’ve been pushing myself in a lot of ways this year, stacking a lot in my schedule, and trying to accomplish a lot of goals in 2017. Through my effort, I’ve been unexpectedly reminded of something… You can’t have it all.

We all have the same 24 hours in each day. Generally we should spend at least four sleeping, though more is preferable. Most of us, though not all, spend about eight hours of every weekday working. We also spend a few hours preparing food, eating, bathing, etc. The remaining hours tend to be where we differ. What will you do with those hours? Choose wisely, because you can’t do it all.

Trying to do too much comes with consequences. In a rush to see noticeable forward progress in all my goals I began to neglect proper rest and recovery. This, of course, worsened my performance and when paired with sleep deprivation, created the perfect recipe for injury.

Which is exactly what happened. Old pains, long forgotten, resurfaced. My mobility diminished more and more, leaving me limping through my day to day life. I tried to do too much, with the consequence of having to spend time doing little. Not a pleasant way to spend a month, if you ask me.

I’ve had to reassess what I can accomplish this year. Fortunately my injuries aren’t permanent and I will soon return to training. I’m certainly not giving up on my goals, even though I may need to modify them; this isn’t a post about quitting, it’s about prioritization.

I want to chase dreams and work on my goals; I want you to do the same. You can’t do that if you don’t put time into it. Likewise, you can’t really do that if you’re always exhausted or chronically injured. It’s critical that you prioritize how you spend your time.

There is another piece to this puzzle though. When we review priorities and sort out how to spend our time, there’s a critical question we often forget to ask ourselves, and that is, “am I having fun?” If the answer is no, there’s a problem. Obviously, every moment can’t be the best time in the world. I have a day job, I understand cubicle drudgery, but even there we have opportunities for fun. I’m convinced that life is supposed to be fun, however you define it, meaning that we need to make fun a priority too.

I’ve neglected that priority lately. I let my injury and poor sleep get the better of me. Well, no more. I’m recalibrating, and if you’re not having fun lately, I urge you to do the same. We’ve got to find a balance; sometimes you have to be disciplined enough to work, train, and practice, and other times you need to make sure that you’re having a damn good time. If you’re lucky, these things will eventually blend together and you can spend more and more time doing the things you love, because the things you love doing will serve your goals. When that happens, then you will do amazing things.

Or don’t. You’re perfectly welcome to be a couch potato, stay in your current circumstances, or not have any fun in your life. That’s your choice, after all. But you do have to choose, one way or another. Because we all have the same 24 hours every day.

People everywhere question whether or not they can have it all. Can they have every single thing they want? The answer, alas, is no. We can’t have it all. At least not all at once. There simply isn’t enough time. That’s not negativity, that’s prioritization, and I’m getting my priorities straight. I still believe in me, and just as importantly, I still believe in you.

We can’t do everything. We can’t have it all. Make sure you’re getting the stuff that matters. And seriously, go have some fun, as soon as possible. You won’t regret it.

Rules for Intrepid Living is a recurring post about living a more adventurous life.

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