Newsletter editor Lily here.
I’ve had a rough go of it in 2018 from a career perspective. I’ve spent almost half of my year sick—first with a pretty bad case of mono, and then a number of smaller colds and illnesses thanks to my totally shot-down immune system from said mono—which left me playing catch-up professionally, and in general I’ve just felt like I’m running with no direction. An entire year has gone by, and I feel like I’ve yet to develop a real semblance of a routine as I’ve taken on new work.
A huge part of that is my fault; I’ve always had a tendency to take on way too many things at once, and it seems like it’s finally starting to catch up to me. So I think the big question I’ve been asking myself is, why do I do this? And why do I do so many things that are so wildly different from one another—starting a marketing firm, teaching a college class, helping with random writing projects?
I had a bit of an epiphany a few weeks ago after thinking about these questions for a while. I was reading Rachel Syme’s terrific profile of Lady Gaga, and this section summed it up: “[Lady Gaga] read Andy Warhol’s books and realized that what most people want, when they dream of fame, is not necessarily wealth or power but limitlessness: the ability to change.”
I have no interest in becoming an international pop icon or a critically acclaimed actress, but this notion of chasing limitlessness struck a chord. For me, why I’ve often pursued so many different goals and ideas was partially out of a sense of curiosity, but also because we live in a world that’s quick to tell you what you should be doing and criticize you for doing anything that isn’t that. That’s always bothered me. And as I reflected on Syme’s quote, I realized more and more how true this is for women: We’re supposed to inhabit a few specific roles in very particular ways, and anything other than that is a rebellion that society rules must be quelled.
Does anyone else feel this way sometimes? Or is that just me? Regardless, one thing’s for sure: I won’t stop racing after the feeling of limitlessness anytime soon.