Life is a juggling act. And I constantly feel like I’m dropping a ball.
Allow me a moment to illuminate my own brand of crazy. Whenever I hear somebody’s age, I immediately compare our lives. What have they accomplished? What have I accomplished? How old were they when they accomplished A, B & C? How old am I now? How far behind am I in accomplishing my life goals? How much harder do I have to work to catch up? (Let me note that the comparison is always favorable to the other person. I’m always the one behind in some way or other.)
Then my brain switches gears. It becomes: Oh no. I’m 28. I only have 22 years before I’m 50… After 50, I
will only have 25 more years to accomplish my goals before I’m, conceivably, dead. Even writing this essay – though I’m fulfilling a part of myself doing it – I’m internally panicking over the other things I could/should be getting accomplished! And this happens every time I hear someone’s age. Usually, the only thing that stops this calculator is thinking about the strength of my marriage. Because “at least I’ve got that.”
Probably to a lesser extent, I’m certain that every small business owner feels the way I do. Just as you finish one task, another ten crop up. As an artist, this is doubly true. We have to find time to work our day jobs, promote ourselves, handle the “business stuff” and create our art- as well as live our lives (friends, family, personal time.) There’s only so much time in the day. It’s inevitable that something will be dropped. For me, it’s my personal life.
I feel called to create. Most of my goals center around this calling. None of my goals include something as amorphous as “friendship.” Friendship is something that cannot be quantified and, therefore, cannot be set as a goal. There are many, many people in my life of whom I am fond; I just love being in their presence. Usually, however, this must be done in a setting where I can see as many people as possible at one time.
I am appreciative of the people who understand this creative dilemma. (As many of my friends are artists themselves, I like to believe that they do.) Yes! Of course I want to hang out and have a movie night! It just might not happen for another 6 months… No matter how it seems, it does bother me to have to turn down a hangout with friends. This, frequently, is why I don’t answer text messages; it’s easier not to answer than face a disappointed friend (self.)
In my mind, there are two components to a lasting friendship. 1.) No matter how much time passes, don’t hold it against each other. 2.) In the event of an emergency: be there. Many people view me as emotionless, but in my heart (though it be three sizes too small), I carry everyone who has made an impression in my life. I think about them quite often.
I was never very good at algebra. And, as an ever changing X factor, friendship(s) cannot be put into my mental calculator. I cannot objectively say, “I’m succeeding or failing at friendship.” By my own standards, I’m doing pretty well. By other standards, I’m not. Yet at the end of the day, I’m the only one who has to live with the metaphorical demons that feed on my mental math.
But this is why, when I say to my creative partner, “when I’m with you, it feels like I am by myself,” it’s the highest compliment I can give.