The Darling Conundrum

Surely this is how everyone looks at their desk job, right?

I learned that one of my favorite interior designers was featured in the Fall issue of Darling Magazine. I knew already I wanted to subscribe, but this time I couldn’t wait. Half the week, I work down the street from Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and went to Anthropologie to snag a copy.

Rather than skip straight to Emily Henderson’s essay, I read in table of contents-order like a civilized human being (a modern mockery) and found “The Unexpected Everything: The Women of SoulPancake.” The writer leads her interview with a conundrum:

Is it possible to have it all when you’re busy trying to do it all?

Out of sheer stubbornness, I made myself come up with a fast answer: no. Then, I forced myself to defend it. The more I tried, the more I gradually began to believe myself.

This is what I wrote in response:

What is doing? Especially, doing “it all?” I began there. We pride ourselves in our varying abilities to multitask. Really, we’re committing microtime — to first one project, then the next, then the first again, the second, a third, a fourth, the second, the third, the first…but not whole time at once, us multitaskers trying to do it all. I see plenty of occasions for opportunities to fall through the cracks, missed; about as many, though in a more definitive, pointed fashion, as if we had focused a lot of time on only a few things.

I think that if instead we diminish our expectations for the road ahead — indeed, forego the road itself — we can gain back different and personally better opportunities to “do.” We may not, in the end, “have it all,” but we would “have what we need.”

I realized quickly that I might have started elsewhere: what is “having?” By whose definitions is “having” — yours, or another’s? Is “having” couched in social expectation? Is having subjective and, if so, could having it all mean having one thing, one person, should that one thing be their entire world?

I had thoughts on having…but I lost them. I might be missing the irony in that, too.

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