Regrets of a perfectionist

I am an overachiever.

But perhaps that’s not the right word. “Workaholic” isn’t much better, given that I do waste entirely too much time playing video games.

Hm. What is the proper word for someone who loads themself up with work? A try-hard? No, no, that doesn’t have quite the right connotation. According to the internet, maybe the right term is “self-oriented perfectionist?”

Well, whatever the proper term is (which may just be “crazy”), I tend to take on a lot of responsibility. I’m fitting the five-year co-terminal program into four years, have leadership positions in at least two different clubs, and have an almost-full-time job running a website in order to pay for tuition. And then, of course, I let myself take on a few personal projects here or there (you know, for “fun”); luckily, they can be put aside whenever things get busy.

But that’s all fine; I’ve been managing that stuff for the past few years. Or have I? Humans are bad at multi-tasking on a small scale. I can barely carry on a conversation while trying to play a song on Rock Band.

On a large scale, things are just as bad. I feel that I just haven’t been able to put as much attention into things as I’d have liked to. It’s pretty much impossible to simultaneously attend to four or five different groups at once, and I’m certainly not going to let academics fall to the side, so that only leaves so much time for everything else. Most of the time, I manage by “coasting” through something. Perhaps I let my website sit for a while so I can focus on The Poly; alternatively, perhaps I miss an entire Poly closing because of a “work emergency.” It’s not the best way to manage things, but looking back, I don’t regret taking on so much work.

What I do regret is that I didn’t do more things in the past four years. I wish I had taken some of the classes in the game design or graphic design areas, there are at least half a dozen clubs I would’ve liked to be involved in, and at the same time, I wish I had more time to finish all of my personal projects. How that works—because realistically, I did not have the time to take on anything else (or I probably would have done so)—I’ll never know. I blame RPI and the Rensselaer
Union for offering so many choices that, no matter what you do, there will never be enough time to do everything you want. And that’s not a bad thing.

The famous Mark Twain saying goes, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” However, remember that there are only so many hours in a day, and there is only so much of you to go around. By no means should you ignore Twain’s suggestion to “sail away from the safe harbor,” but really, there’s no point regretting missing out when you’ve taken advantage of as many opportunities as you could.

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