I woke up this morning with an itch. I noticed it first on my chin. Then the inside of my left elbow. Then my left ring finger. There were little red bumps. Something was amiss.
I dressed as if to run, but my apartment was a mess. There was an unpacked bag in the corner. There were piles of dirty clothes. The sink was full of dishes. I couldn’t fathom that at the end of the week I’d be heading out of town … until mid October.
So instead of running, I opened two weeks worth of mail before work. In addition to a landslide of bills, there was a notice from my landlord: “Don’t forget to pay your last month’s rent before moving November 1.” Oh, so I guess my brother had spoken with the super. I guess I’m moving. By November 1. In addition to finishing the new record, running the NYC Marathon, playing six Smith Family shows, and going to L.A. and Australia.
I itched more and more on the walk to work. I dared not scratch. It might spread. It might get worse.
Sitting at work, I began to think that perhaps I’d taken on too much: the day job, the business trip, the vacation, the move, the triathlon, the marathon, the record, the side project. I called Quantas to assess the repercussions of postponement.
I spent Friday afternoon studying for my scuba exam, Friday night celebrating my 33d year, Saturday taking said exam (11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and a 96% thank you very much), and Sunday starting a new record (which sounds amazing, by the way).
It’s now Tuesday morning. I’m just getting to Monday’s dinner (Healthy Choice turkey, potatoes and vegetables), and working off Monday night’s beers (rehearsal plus a friend’s show). And yunno’ what? I realize that , sadly, I can’t do it all. Something’s got to give.
I am pleased to report that I have learned something in my thirty-three years: my limitations. I want to dazzle you, Dear Reader, with my limitlessness, with my ability to do many many things, to achieve. But I believe that I have found the edge of reason …
I love being an achiever. I love doing more than should be doable in a day. I relished the bragging rights of a fall chocked full of foreign travel, new releases, and athletic milestones. I’m trying to figure out why I’m compelled to do fourteen things at once. For some reason, I seem to think you’ll love me more, or that it makes me somehow more of a man. But I can’t do it all and do it all well.
And so it is: Art precludes self. The record trumps the vacation. Australia will wait. Sydney will wait. Surfer’s Paradise will wait. The Great Barrier Reef will wait. The sun will wait. And I will make you — I will make me — an album worth bragging about. I will run a marathon worth sweating over. I will move into a new apartment worthy of homecoming. And then I will vacate.
I will be an adult. I will concede that, while I can do many things well, I can to do fewer things better. And I trust that you’ll still love me either way.
I have limitations, see, and for the first time in my life, I think I know what they feel like.