How do you come to terms with not being able to do everything, everywhere, all at once?

I enjoy taking photos. I’m fascinated with collecting rocks. I adore making memories with my children. I cherish taking in walks with my wife. And I forever strive to soak in small moments of solitude in the beautiful places I travel to. But how do I figure out which reasonable combination of these things to do at a given time?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, one of our family goals this past year (and for next year) is to travel around Michigan. More specifically, travel around Michigan with the intention of walking along the beaches of the Great Lakes to collect various rocks and fossils, a hobby often referred to as rock hounding.

Something I struggle with though, not only during these adventures but other travels as well, is figuring out how to spend my time when we’re out and about. Realistically, I can only do one, maybe two tasks at a time. So, using the aforementioned examples, do I spend the time walking along the beach trying to corral the children while occasionally picking up a rock or two (and having a fear of missing out (FOMO) that I might miss a beautiful agate)? Or do I enjoy the walk with my wife and snap a few photos along the way? Should I be recording video of the kids as they look for rocks worth keeping? Or should I take a still photograph of them instead? Do I use a 35mm film camera or my 120 Contax 645? 50mm or 105mm?

So many decisions, both before and during every single activity. And that’s to say nothing of dealing with the FOMO that making one decision altered what could’ve been the better one after the fact.

I know I’m not the only one to feel this way; my wife expressed feeling the same way during our adventures (we’re both very multifaceted people with more hobbies and interests than is likely reasonable) and I’ve talked with others who feel this way in varying capacities. But it really does wear on me in ways that I don’t often realize until after the fact when I’m in a decompression stage much later on.

I’ve always considered myself to be someone who understands tradeoffs, opportunity costs, and cost-benefit analyses of both business and personal endeavors. But I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that I struggle much more with the latter.

In my work life, I seem to have no problem making a decision amongst seemingly endless possibilities and doing it with little to no second guessing. But that aptitude doesn’t appear to translate well into my personal life. I’m not sure why, and I certainly don’t have an answer, but this post is my “thinking out loud” exercise I hope to be able to reference months or years from know when I eventually make some progress on this matter.