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Image courtesy of ahmet guler / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed of late. I do too much. We all do too much, don’t we? As an ex-perfectionist, I still sometimes think I can manage everyone’s expectations and my own, give one hundred percent to my relationships, and take care of basic human functioning while succeeding at every. single. thing. handed to me. I can do it all!


If age and maturity have given me anything, though, it’s knowing when I’m defeated and being able to admit it.

So I’m here to say: I can’t do it all. Not well anyway.


There was a time when admitting this was not an option. In high school, I participated in the annual school play, track & field, Odyssey of the Mind, Math League, chorus, and student government. My GPA never fell below a 4.0. On the surface, I excelled. Underneath, I was a giant ball of anxiety and disordered eating. I couldn’t admit there was anything wrong because I cultivated an image of having it all together. Of perfection.

(The fact that I was in Math League is probably the biggest indication that I was a deluded little thing and thought I could do it all. In a parallel world, I’m super good at math.)

Perfection is false. I’m sorry if this is a conclusion at which you’ve already arrived, but it’s taken me a while to get here. And I’d like to let it sink in.

I can’t do it all. Something gives, however small. Little pieces drop off here and there. Unanswered phone calls, dishes in the sink, realizing you haven’t trimmed your toenails in forever. A month passes and you haven’t spoken to your friends except for a few texts. These things matter. They make life nice. I would have some time for them if I weren’t so busy Living Up to Expectations.

At work the other day, in between half a dozen meetings, I slipped out to use the restroom. While on the toilet, I thought to myself, How can I make myself pee faster? I have to get back to work. Pee faster, Erin!

I tried to control the speed of my urine stream.

I can’t do it all.

My weekdays are spent working for a paycheck. My weekends are spent working for things that don’t pay. I’m always working at something. I’m tired.

I can’t do it all. I don’t want to do it all.

I think what I need is a little break. A few weeks, maybe a little longer, so I can refresh, refocus, repair. I want to watch Battlestar Galactica in my jammies. I want to spend a full weekend lost in a good book. I want to finish my kickass screenplay. I want to take a walk outside, holding my husband’s hand, with absolutely no destination in mind.

So I’m going to go do those things. And I’ll see you all in a little while.