why i can’t slow down

I once heard that asking someone in Los Angeles what they do is a complicated question, because it requires a complicated answer. It’s not “what do you do?” so much as “what did you come here to do?”

As portrayed in the award-winning film La La Land, Los Angeles is the city of hopes and dreams. It’s the city people move to to follow their artistic and creative passions in cut-throat industries. Simply put, Los Angeles is not only the City of Angels, but the City of Aspirations.

So it’s a complicated question. What did you come here to do, and while you’re pursuing that, what do you do?

If you were to ask me what I do, the answer, unsurprisingly, is complicated. But not quite in the same vein as what I briefly discussed. I have many titles.

Professionally I am an editor full-time, a news writer part-time, and a freelance writer for various publications. On top of that, I am a visual artist. I could wax poetic about how the simple act of creation keeps me sane when my occupation is quite the mouthful. Between my job(s) and my creative endeavors, I still make time to have a social life. A lot of people might say this is a lot to handle, carefully leaning over the borderline of too much to handle. I’d argue against that.

While it’s very important to take a break and a mental vacation every once in a while, the act of “slowing down” is foreign to me. My mind can’t process it. If you look at my desktop or my phone, I have more than plenty of tabs, windows and apps open. Oftentimes you might find me in a state saying “I have so many thoughts on so many things.” I’ve been told that simply looking at my desktop induces slight anxiety. But I suppose that’s where I diverge from others.

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To be blunt, this is how my brain works. I have an infinite number of varying thoughts floating around my head. I speak in a stream of consciousness that, to some, can be hard to follow. When I find an interest and want to know the answer, I set aside the other thoughts and/or priorities to fall down a rabbit hole of sorts until I find what I’m looking for. If that trip down is interrupted by another thought, the cycle repeats itself.

This is all I know. It’s how I function. For as long as I can remember I’ve been a busy person. Whether that was with school or dance classes, or piano lessons and what have you, there has always been something to keep me going, turning those imaginative gears.

My mother tells me that this is because I am a creative at heart. A friend once told me it’s clear that I have “the artists’ soul.” Maybe that’s it, but maybe some people are just constantly going. Perhaps it’s problematic because the attention span isn’t quite as long as what might be ideal. But it’s that curiosity that leads me to discover and explore.

But I suppose the question really is, do I ever give myself a break? Of course I do. Even an Energizer Bunny runs out of battery life. But instead of taking a “break” I find my time of R&R through my hobbies and projects, during my 20 minute walks to the market or elsewhere, alone time window shopping, writing these blog posts, journaling, riding on my commute or most frequently, during my showers. Even if that means researching for my next story or brainstorming for new pitches. That’s when I “slow down.” My quiet moments are when I’m with myself. I’m an I(ntrovert)NTP, after all.

Yet even then, my thoughts are still moving forward. It’s a never-ending circle.

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