All or Nothing—by Jamie Levine
It’s Sunday night, and knowing that tomorrow morning you’re going to begin starving yourself on a new diet, you binge on an entire carton of ice cream or cookies, or maybe even both. Then you go to bed feeling completely sick, having eaten more dessert than you ever do on a typical night, in preparation for the food deprivation you expect to experience in upcoming weeks. Sound familiar? Even if you’ve never personally prepared for a diet this way, you must know someone who has. And the way I see it, this is just one way of expressing what I’ve termed the “all or nothing” syndrome.
While I no longer binge or diet anymore, I am still a victim of the “all or nothing” syndrome. Throughout graduate school, I garnered practically all straight A’s because I figured if I was going to take time out of my busy life to write a paper or study for a test, I might as well go all out—“all or nothing”—and do it right. And when I work out—which is many times a week these days—I run or lift weights rather intensely. I tell myself that if I’m going to take the time to go to the gym, I need to work hard and make it really worth my while; otherwise I may as well stay home and take care of the other zillion things which I need to do. Once again, it’s all or nothing for me.
And then there is my blog: I’ve been writing it weekly for three years now—missing publication of an entry on very rare occasions, and never for more than two weeks in a row. I love writing my blog. But I set very high standards for my writing, and lately, I’ve been so immersed in my summer that when the deadline for my blog rolls around, I’ve been so crunched for time that rather than write a mediocre blog, I’ve chosen to write nothing at all instead. And this has happened week after week after week. My “all or nothing” syndrome has resulted in nothing all summer. Not even an explanation. And that’s inexcusable. So here’s my explanation. After years of working, being a single mother, and continuing school to jumpstart a second career as a speech-language pathologist, I’ve finally been rewarded with a work-free summer. It’s been a wonderful summer. And an extremely busy, completely exhausting summer. I’ve spent quality time with family and friends—at bars and barbeques, beaches, and Broadway shows. I’ve had great adventures with Jayda—I’ve taken her strawberry, blueberry, and peach picking out east, I’ve chauffeured her to weekly ice skating lessons at 8 a.m. (yes, in the summer; she’s become serious about figure skating), and we’ve been to pools, playgrounds, movies, and more, with friends from Jayda’s former daycare, nursery school, pre-K, and kindergarten (I’ve kept in touch with beloved mom friends from all of these establishments). I’ve been on interviews—and obtained an early intervention position as a speech-language pathologist for the fall. And I’m taking my daughter to Walt Disney World for the very first time in a few days!
I’ve also dated a lot this summer—been to concerts and dinners, and even on a boat—finally winding up with just one man at the end of it all. And probably because I didn’t give him my “all” like I usually do when I’m dating a guy (I usually just focus on one man) he fell for me even though he was the guy I took the least seriously when the summer began. So yet again, sometimes all or nothing isn’t the answer—something in between is best of all. And that’s why I’m writing a blog today. It may not be the best one I’ve ever written. But it’s something. And something is better than nothing. It can even be the start of a new beginning. Or so I hope.