All at once,
the world can overwhelm you.
There’s almost nothing that you could tell me,
that could easy my mind.
—Jack Johnson, “All At Once”
Dealing with Overwhelm
Throughout my thirty years on this earth, I have struggled with one emotion more than any other: the feeling of overwhelm. That changed this year though.
Until this year, I was overwhelmed by my job. I was overwhelmed by the amount of email in my inbox. I was overwhelmed just thinking about hitting the gym in the evening. I was overwhelmed by the Internet. I was overwhelmed by my smartphone. I was overwhelmed by the phone calls and emails and text messages and instant messages and BlackBerry Messenger messages and Twitter updates and Facebook statuses and all the millions of discrete bits of info hurled in my direction every day.
I became neurotic—I was overwhelmed, so I worried about everything. What if I don’t respond to that email today? What if I don’t return that voicemail in time? What if I fail? What if he doesn’t like me? What if she stops loving me? What if, what if, what if…
Read the rest of this long essay in our book, Minimalism: Essential Essays.