An innocent question this weekend (ie, “what are your plans for today?”) brought on a full-on rant to an unsuspecting friend of mine. As this is a creative blog, I try not to blog about my personal life here… but there’s also some necessity when personal thoughts begin “blocking” your creative flow. For more on this, I strongly recommend The Artist’s Way. Seriously, at least check out the book from your local library. It’s worth it to try even if you don’t finish it. I return to this book, and its ideas, pretty often when I reach a turning point or plateau. Or when parts of my life obviously start feeling a bit stale or “bleh.”
I bring this up because, in the book, Cameron instructs readers to write “morning pages.” The idea is that by hand-writing three stream-of-consciousness pages first thing each day, you get all the “blech” and “yech” thoughts out.
She describes it this way:
“All that angry, whiny, petty stuff that you write down in the morning stands between you and your creativity. Worrying about the job, the laundry, the funny knock in the car, the weird look in your lover’s eye– this stuff eddies through our subconscious and muddies our days.” (page 11, The Artist’s Way)
I had a moment like this when my friend asked that question and got a rant-of-sorts about the people I hold dearest. And, as I apologized for said semi-rant, I heard myself say, “I didn’t know that was upsetting me…”
Because, in truth, I’m not upset with my friends. But I am adjusting to the changes we’re experiencing. It is the hard thing about having good, dear, old friends. Life keeps happening. And we are not in grade school anymore to see each other every day and witness the changes. The changes often come now via text message or random phone call. Announcing engagements, jobs, grad school acceptances, babies, and moving days to places far enough away to warrant airline tickets– or passports.
I have five friends who I would say are my closest. Of the six of us (myself included), we now stand on a relational continuum:
Married (2 years, with 1 year old daughter)
Now, those last three (again, myself included) were hard to write, mostly because I wish them to not be taken the wrong way. I’ll put in the disclaimer that I have been in both of these places and love these girls as sisters.
I am not bitter or jealous. I am thrilled and contented (and occasionally temporarily worried) by each new announcement. When you truly love someone, their victories feel like your own. However, there is a give-and-take in all of this. Buying your closest girlfriend a toaster. Learning to talk to her as though she were a couple– because the amount of one-on-one time you have has significantly decreased. Learning that friendships survive in balance; and that you do still need to find alone time to talk. The challenge of finding that time that is not taken up by jobs, significant others, children, parents, chores. And, in the midst of your changing lives, finding out what common ground you still share. What you can still commiserate– and laugh about– together.
Our lives are clogged with relationships.
My coming challenge: to (wo)man up and put in the effort mine need to continue to blossom. And to create using this love, rather than letting the changes in my life keep me blocked, ineffective, and irritable.