Yeah, the corniness factor of this quote is higher than I'm comfortable with, but I ran across it reading today and wanted to remember it, so I'm putting it here.
"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best to make you into everybody else, means to fight the hardest human battle ever and to never stop fighting." -- e. e. cummings
The hard part (for me) is being able to keep you head clear on what that self is, could be, should be - there are so many pressures sometimes that I'm not sure where or who a thought is coming from any more, or whether I actually believe something I'm saying. Authorship unclear. It's why I took a gap year after college; too many voices. And it's far better now, but it's still hard to step back and listen because so often I can't stop running and be still enough to see the forest for the trees.
So I run myself hard so that I become so tired that at some point I can force my fatigue to overcome my habit of adrenaline. I can then make the choice to rest - and when I rest, then I can think for snatches. That's why I'll often have giant spurts of rambly introspective blog posts shortly after a scarcity of posts (most of them saying something like "ZOMG SO HOSED"). I write and think quickly because I rest quickly and with great intensity - I'm essentially either collapsing or "WHEEEEEEEEE!" at any given point in time (much more frequently the latter). I've been learning a slightly calmer middle ground ("wheeeeeeeeeee!") over the past N years, but it takes effort not to expend that much energy, and I'd rather use that energy to do stuff rather than rein myself in from doing stuff.
I'm starting to learn how to rest before I get to the collapse point. Burnout has taught me some hard lessons in the past few years; it's been over a year since I last had to learn one.
On a completely different note: I still have fantasies of someday actually redoing my website, so for when that day comes, I should look at KompoZer, bluefish, and SeaMonkey. Mm. And... LaTeX, I want to get back to LaTeX, and try the awesome window manager, and... yeah. The hacks queue up, for sure. They're not a backlog, but an idea queue... I've always got something cool to do at any given point in time. Another fun thing I want to look at some point - but my car takes priority - is bicycletutor.com.
Guitar and exercise and Mandarin. I want to make sure I pick them up again next week - I've been extremely spotty this week. Balance and recalibration. I'm actually proud that I even remembered that I wanted to do them this week - and I did play a little guitar, but not deliberate practice... and I exercised a bit, and did no Mandarin at all. Well. The first thing is remembering what you're trying to do... I'll get better at this.