I used to feel like a vibrant compilation artist, moving fluidly from adventure to reflection to expression, experimenting and experiencing whatever circumstance brought me and as my whimsy took me. Now, I feel like an accumulation of skills and talents learned on those adventures, made useful by practice and with a responsibility not to waste that utility because of the concomitant knowledge gained over the past 15 years about the suffering of so many other people.
I fear that this is adulthood. I fear this hardening. It is so new and I don't know yet how to reliably find joy within it. When I thought that adulthood was being married and owning a house and having kids and being respected for my opinions, I welcomed it. I can see how one would find joy in all of that.
Now that I understand that adulthood is commitments, I have been feeling bereft. And, let there be no mistake, I don't mean commitments as in a lot of things to do; I long ago learned basic time management skills.
I define "commitments" to mean "things I have given my heart to and so desire to pour my best effort into." There are only so many things you can pour your best effort into. Right now, I feel like I am filling holes to keep the ground level rather than building anything worthwhile.
When I told Jacob last night that everything moved too fast, I couldn't explain the metaphor, but just knew it was true. I can't catch up and I can't slow down and absorb the life that is all around me. I make lots of stupid mistakes, like forgetting to tell Jacob that I already ran an errand and wasting his time or forgetting to tell him that I need something that he would have been happy to have the opportunity to provide for me. Jacob can't and shouldn't have to do all the housework himself so the house is a complete sty. I am also unconsciously avoiding simple tasks that have any chance of difficult emotional underpinnings, like basic implementation of financial decision that Jacob and I have made.
This will not end well.
So, I am hoping that identifying this new state of being will be the first step toward accommodating it and finding balance. My parents checked in on me last night since they hadn't heard from me in awhile and my best friend in Minnesota called. That helped, too. But my best friends in Chicago, the people who have poured their best efforts into me, are moving tomorrow. My grief is embarrassing and doesn't help with the larger problem.
I'd like to be an artist again. How does one find the necessary liberation to experiment and express when one has commitments? Do you know?
Is this what you should be working on? - There's a nice small list of apps at the bottom of this article which sort of sums up a lot of practices to iterate on if you'd like to see what might work...