Nothing else matters until this project is done. It’s all just going to have to wait.
I was walking home drenched in sweat. It was already after nine. My hair looked like shit. If I hadn’t just washed my sheets last week I would have crawled into bed without showering and called it a day.
But I was out of toilet paper. Scratch that—I was out of toilet paper yesterday. I would have been utterly screwed had I not been spending every waking minute typing at Dolcezza. So here I was, en route to CVS to put an end to my Dolcezza + paper towel survival methods once and for all.
Allow me to backtrack for a second.
Although my going a solid twenty-five hours without toilet paper is, one, disgusting, and two, slightly pathetic given I live one hundred feet from CVS—I do have a small, pathetic excuse as to why.
I lived a toilet paperless life because I had my head too far up my ass in the project I’m working on, to see the light of day and go purchase a goddamn roll.
If you were blessed with the grave misfortune of seeing me this week, consider this my apology to you all. I am one-hundred percent sorry for making your eardrums bleed with my endless bitching about my bandwidth.
And it wasn’t until a voice—my voice, actually—that I suddenly woke up.
When I heard nothing else matters run through my brain, it triggered some sort of PTSD in me that I didn’t even know was THERE.
NOTHING else matters??? I thought. Like, NOTHING??? Like all of humanity is going to collapse and you won’t have any family or friends anymore and your career will be OVER if you fuck up this ONE PROJECT?!
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I thought the phrase, “Nothing else matters,” throughout my lifetime. The times I honest-to-goodness thought the world would END if I didn’t win that race, ace that test, land that job, score that client, or deliver the best-possible-solution-in-the-history-of-planet-Earth.
Let me tell you about the last I thought the phrase, “Nothing else matters.”
The last time my inner dialogue muttered those words I was so stressed out I DON’T KNOW HOW my friends spoke to me. I worked a high-stress job and became so irrationally fixated on the most meaningless tasks I forgot the world existed.
Allow me to paint a picture for you.
On one particular morning—a morning where I lost myself in a state of Nothing Else Matters—I woke up to a bug crawling up my bedroom wall. I jumped out of bed, smashed that motherfucker, and I LEFT IT THERE. I was so dialed-in to whatever I was doing that I would rather sprint to the shower and hurry off to work than clean up a DEAD BUG on my bedroom WALL.
[Oh, I almost forgot. While rushing through my apartment I spotted a pair of underwear just hanging out on my dining room table. Clean or dirty? You tell me.]
And that, my friends, is how my apartment remained. Smashed bug guts on my bedroom wall and questionable underwear on my dining room table. For three days.
Let me explain something to you. Unless you are physically saving another life, something else will ALWAYS matter.
Your life will not end if you don’t pass the LSAT, land the job you went through five rounds of interviews for, or hit a PR in your next competition. Life will go on. The worst thing that happens is you retake the test, extend the project, enter another race, or start from square one in your job search. It will be ok.
There are very few things in life worth completely losing yourself over. I have friends that, quite literally, ran themselves into the ground during grad school or previous jobs. They stopped working out, hanging out with their friends, doing the things they love(d), or keeping their apartment in a socially-accepted state of cleanliness.
No matter how stressed you get, no matter how tight the deadline, you can always spare a few minutes to walk around the block, treat yourself to an iced coffee, or eat a decent meal.
Or, you know, remember to buy toilet paper.