I had a free night on the calendar, so I tumbled out of my office with a stack of necessary supplies: a laptop in case I wanted to blog (or work more), my iPad in case I wanted to watch YouTubes, a gunpla set and all my tools in case I wanted to hobby, and a book or two in case I wanted to read. I got in the house and let out a sigh “What am I doing?!” I wish I could say this was an isolated event, but it happens often. The likelihood I do any of these activities beyond my iPad is miniscule.

Carrying that pile of distractions, my brain flashed back to college. Living in an enormous house with seven roommates and at least one freeloading vagrant, I was paying $200/mo in rent to sleep in a literal closet in South Austin. To focus, I’d leave the house and walk over to the coffee shop: Bouldin Creek, before it moved from the old house that became Elizabeth Street Cafe. The memory that came crashing back was of my backpack, always filled with all the supplies I’d need for a short stay at the coffeeshop: my school work in case I wanted to graduate, a handful of books in case I wanted to learn about non-school subjects, a journal in case I wanted to write about how busy I am, a laptop in case I wanted to play Snood, a Bible in case I needed spiritual guidance, an iPod in case I needed to drown my thoughts, a water bottle in case I was thirsty at the coffee shop, and a digital camera in case I was in an artsy mood. A zero percent chance I’d do anything other than noodle on my laptop. But I carried this bag of distractions all over Austin, all over Texas, all over America, all over the planet.

Packing for my most recent business trip, I caught myself filling up my backpack with a couple paperbacks, a Kindle, a PlayDate, a Switch, my laptop, my iPad, and my phone filled with podcasts and audiobooks. “What am I doing?!” I sighed. I pulled out the Kindle and the Switch and left everything else. I read a bit of one book, but didn’t even touch the PlayDate. I felt accomplished though, at least I attempted to triage my bag of distractions.

This is how my brain operates, endlessly conjuring todos. My lump of grey matter filling its bag with distractions in the off-chance I become bored; physical totems of intent and psychic entrapments of alternate timelines where I’m not so busy. I can tell when I’m relaxed because I resume daydreaming about making a video game… well, not one game, six entirely different games with blockbuster budgets outside the bounds of my current knowledge. One day, I tell myself, one day. In the meanwhile, I will carry this bag of distractions around.