Today, I am painfully aware that time is short. Retirement age is racing toward me at an alarming rate and yet I still have so much I want to do; things that have significance and meaning to me. I want to do it all while I still have the physical and mental faculties to do it well. My stamina is already not what it was twenty years ago. I don’t think I have another twenty years of stamina, though I hope I do. To be honest, I am already surprised at the myriad ways my body tells me it is wearing and not as resilient as it once was. Projecting into the future, I can’t see things improving significantly and I anticipate more wear and tear, if anything, not less.
Meanwhile, I am aware that you can’t push yourself so hard that you die early. On the radio, this morning, are reports of a well known politician, a contemporary, dead at 55. That’s very young, really. I have had a tendency to push myself too hard, to date. Pacing myself is more important, now. I know too many brilliant people that didn’t make it to their sixties. To be honest, I miss them dreadfully.
I read another interesting thing, this morning. A methodical analysis of start-up company successes and failures discovered that the most significant factor is timing. Too early or too late spell doom. Timing is more important than the quality of the idea, the quality of the execution, the business plan or the funding. It is the dominant factor in success. Your idea has to hit the sweet spot, when the world is ready to receive it and mad for it.
I’ve always tended to have ideas that are way too early, and then burnt myself out trying to move against the tide, only to become exhausted, depleted and discouraged, causing me to miss the right moment, when it comes. The problem is that judging the right moment for when the world is ready for any particular idea is exceedingly difficult, especially as the world grows resistant to any new idea, it seems. Right now, trivialities command the limelight.
I feel something a little like panic, because while I have been trying to move forward with the things I want to accomplish, the universe has had this way of inserting other, urgent, pressing existential problems to solve, while I am trying to solve my own creative challenges. I have been blown off course and diverted, just making the practicalities of life work. It has been a very painful distraction, when life is short and time is limited. I feel resentment that I am required to solve some of them and will have to spend considerable and ongoing time doing that, instead of focusing on my self-defined mission. I just couldn’t find a way to make it earn enough through my heart’s calling that it would solve the practical problems of living for me, without me needing to do anything else.
So, my reality, like that of many artists, is that I must spend a lot of my time making life survivable, while putting my creative projects to one side. That just makes me realise how important those projects are to me and how much I want to spend any other time I can eke out at least moving them forward by increments, until they do gather some momentum of their own. It’s entirely possible, of course, that all of the projects that are important to me will never find an audience willing to sponsor their existence. While that’s tragic for me, it doesn’t in any way lessen their importance to me. I’ll have to attempt them, even if nobody else cares, as is currently the demonstrable case. It’s my own self-imposed burden, this mission of mine.
Meanwhile, I also want to pay as much attention as I can to those I love most, because this year has taught me that they can disappear at any time. You never want to lose them with things left unsaid and undone together, because you were too busy pursuing your art. It’s important to live life, as well as having purpose to life. How do other people juggle all of this? As best they can, I suspect. It’s never easy. Balance is hard to achieve.