Hello Handsome People.
I’m sitting here trying to think of my list for the week and I’m having trouble because life has been hectic. But I know well enough by now (most of the time), to not fall into The Busyness Trap — and that, further, I can choose to look at the situation in a different way.
Which is why today’s WILTW this week is about gratitude.
Something Collin Schiffli said during our interview has stuck with me. When I asked him what he was most proud of in his life, he answered by reflecting upon the fact that — despite circumstances not yet being “perfect” — he is doing what he loves.
And so am I, really. I feel the same way.
Plain Old Regular Adulthood
That which I feared in my twenties has come to pass.
Most days, I get up, go to work, come home and eat and go to bed and then I do it again. My younger self failed to realize that this is — it’s just life. And while I don’t mean to oversimplify, and could say a lot more about this, the fact remains that this pattern…is mostly it.
This is why I believe what we do (and who we spend our time with) is almost as important as who we are. It’s also why I believe in fighting for better conditions, for more people, to be able to pursue the sort of contentedness that I’ve been able to build in recent years — it’s an alleged “right” in this country that’s been tied down and ensnared by innumerable qualifiers that mostly stem from class, privilege, race, and gender.
So, first, I feel fortunate to be able to say that I agree with Collin. When I get up and go to work, it’s not simple. I have many jobs, most of which I have given myself. But when I do get around to sleeping, it’s a lot easier than it used to be, when I wasn’t doing at least the best I could to keep creating and to make the art-life balance work for me.
The other part of plain old regular adulthood that I like is that I’m sharing it with someone who loves me. And an old lady cat and a young lady dog who the pair of us both love, too. And there are plenty of other wonderful people in my life, from days old and new.
Not everyone has that, though we all deserve it.
Sometimes, lately, I just stop in the middle of my apartment and I think of where I’ve been and where I am now and I allow myself to feel happy. It’s still a fairly new experience but I like it.
Coffee with Creatives
The interviews have been more fun than I expected. And more fulfilling. It’s really great to sit down with people, some of whom I know and some who I don’t, and have an hour-long conversation about — basically what I just wrote above — balancing life with purpose.
Coffee with Creatives will morph into a podcast soon. It’s already costing a bit of money, and I want to do it right, so I probably will have to build some fundraising into the endeavor to keep it viable. We’ll figure out a way.
Feedback on Coffee with Creatives has been very positive so far. Thanks to everyone reading and sharing the interviews. I hope this is just the beginning.
I’m very grateful to my guests as well. They’ve all been great.
The Generosity of Others
I was approaching a street corner in Manhattan the other day, when I passed a homeless woman who was asking for help with getting some food. I didn’t have any, couldn’t give her cash, and wouldn’t have an opportunity to grab something for her on my way back from the errand I was on — which I would otherwise have tried to do.
Privately, I wished that someone else would help her soon. It was a sincere hope, not a means of assuaging guilt.
Then a second, work-casually dressed woman approached the corner, and offered a single-serve box of Cheerios to the homeless woman, who eagerly accepted it, expressed her thanks, opened the package and started eating.
A few days later, a similar scene transpired.
I was running to the pharmacy. As I approached the entrance, I saw three people sitting on the street, against the building, asking for help. I was just making a mental note, to pick up some food to offer them while inside, when I saw a young boy approach each, one by one, with a proffered brown bag lunch. All three graciously accepted.
When he was out of bags, he returned to a small group of women, who must have been supervising the effort, and they gave him more bags and he quickly found a few additional people who needed and accepted the food — people I hadn’t even noticed among the heavy pedestrian traffic of the area.
Do these sort of actions solve the world’s problems? Of course not. Are they humane, and immediately recognizable as kind, good things to do? Yes.
It honestly felt great, to see that, when it wasn’t immediately easy for me to help, that I could still hope for help to be given, and witness that hope quickly fulfilled.
I suspect, as well, that these sort of stories are playing out, in plain sight, all around us, in New York City and beyond, and that maybe we’d notice them more often if we let go at least temporarily of the drama and dread fed to us by the culture via the mainstream media.
I’m finding, more and more as I continue to age, that it can be that simple. And, a lot of the time, it can be enough.
Have a good week.