Getting Your Shit Together

“I don’t know what people mean when they say they need to get their shit together.”

For a second, I wanted to drop all the way through the floorboards, into the depths of the earth, and maybe find one of those underground streams that runs into the Sound. Maybe when I get my shit together I’ll start learning letterpress, I’d said. And they’d looked through the words and hit something: the enormous distance between what I was saying and what I was likely to actually do.

I managed to pull myself back up, take another sip of wine, and have something resembling an adult conversation about projects and hobbies.

But the conversation, and their gently puzzled reaction, has stuck with me since then. I’ve realized that it’s a variation of “one of these days” or “someday” — a way to try to avoid feeling badly about not doing ALL THE THINGS.

I mean, at work I’m pretty good at prioritizing, maybe because there’s a goal? Or a team? Or spreadsheets? But in my personal time: oh, you know, one of these days….

Since then, every time I think wistfully about something I’m not doing, I start asking myself: what kind of “together” do I need to do the thing on the other side of the sentence?

Sometimes it’s money, sometimes it’s time, sometimes it’s purely preoccupation. Is something else looming over my life? And sometimes it’s that I want to be cool, artsy, sporty, tough: to be like some other person.

Then, most of the time, it’s remembering: this is what I want to be doing, and really, nobody has their shit together anyway. So just open the word processor, take out the pencils, clean up the bike, start stretching, and go.

Author: Elaine Nelson

Elaine Nelson was directionless with an English degree in the late 90s and then: GODDAMN INTERNET. In her current gig, she wrangles content and content management systems, but her last job was Webmaster, so she's dabbled in all sorts of web work. She's an editor at The Interconnected, previously published in The Pastry Box, and once had a poem published in an anthology of GenX writing, when that was the big new thing.