FARGO - We often consider it a "strength." We boast about it on our resumes and refer to it when asking for a raise or proving our worth in the workplace. We smile, assuming it makes us a valuable player in this game of life.
Though under high levels of stress, we wear "multitasker" as a badge of honor, despite the studies and statistics that show there's nothing righteous or healthy about it.
Experts say switching between tasks comes at the cost of a 40 percent loss in productivity. Interrupting one task to focus on another can even affect our short-term memory.
But what's worse?
We're used to it. We pride ourselves in our frequent response to "How are you?" We're certain "busy" is a praise-worthy reply for us go-getter millennials.
When we do give ourselves a moment of rest, we equate it with boredom. Our "norm" is non-stop action, keeping our feet - and brains - moving. There's no time to rest - not a moment to sit around. There's so much to do. As soon as our to-do lists are complete, we begin making new ones, hoping to get ahead.
Some of us are husbands, wives and parents, but that doesn't stop us. We're still just as involved as everyone else. We'd hate for the world to prove we couldn't have a career and a family and loyal friends and second (and third) jobs or even hobbies.
So we run ourselves ragged. We stay up late and wake up early. Whether it's the patterns we've developed or sudden panic that wakes us, it's a miracle that we manage to get out of bed at all.
We stand in the shower at 1 a.m., barely able to function as we add shampoo to our hair. (And do it again, because we're so tired we can't remember where we are or what we've washed.) In the midst of the steam, fog and exhaustion, we stop to think, "Is this what I want from my life?"
For every monumental obstacle we overcome, we lose another second to stress. We are overworked and underpaid just to prove "we can do it." Those wiser chuckle, knowing we, too, are learning one of life's greatest lessons.
When the daylight fades with our fleeting energy, we ask ourselves, "Is all of this worth my sanity?"
Is the need to achieve worth pulling out our hair during fits of stress, worry and perpetual discontentment? What is the price for perfectionism? Are we willing to pay for it in exchange for our health?
Alas, as the fog lifts, we stare into the mirror and nearly fail to recognize the zombie staring back at us. We emerge from the cloud of steam and realize that just because we can, doesn't mean should or have to.
In 2018, may our schedules be lighter, our to-do lists shorter and our appreciation for all of life's moments more abundant.
After all, what do we have to prove?