Blog posting has been a tetch light lately, I know. Here's my current self-serving humblebrag excuse...
In each of the past two weeks, I have been presented with a big professional challenge, rife with the possibilities of public humiliation and failure.
I have taken on both challenges.
- Thing number one: paint a piano.
In which I'll be one of 75 local artists wrecking painting a piano for Celebrity Series of Boston's "Play Me, I'm Yours" street piano festival this fall. For three weeks, we will have 75 decorated, fully-functioning pianos placed throughout Boston in public spaces — mostly outdoors.
- Thing number two: work promotion.
In which — post-reorganization, and during a brief conversation — I went from managing six people to managing sixteen. Including my old boss. Without really dropping any of my other current responsibilities.
So now I'm obsessed, neurotic, completely unable to fall back asleep at 5 AM, and busier than a one-legged man at an ass-kickers' convention.
Good thing I don't have a wife and three kids. Oh wait. Nevermind.
Occasionally, friends ask me, "Where do you find the time to do all of this stuff?" I always give the same answer: "I don't. When I'm busy, everything else in my life suffers."
There are only 24 hours in a day, and I try to sleep during seven of them, so if I'm spending time away from work on my art, or on this blog, or on more work, that's time away from my wife and kids, or my work, or fixing up our house, or paying bills, or even relaxing. Those things — my relationships, my performance, my attitude — suffer. They can't not.
People who say they're good at "multitasking" are full of shit. They're too-often simply unable to focus on any one thing and see it through, while letting the other juggling balls temporarily fall where they may.
The art: As you might have surmised, from The Weekly intermittent Meat columns, my artwork is not exactly the fuzzy Chopin etudes sort. I describe it using terms like "industrial collage," and tend toward incorporating old skill saw blades and rusted metal. When it comes to this piano I'm doing, if I had my way, it would play nothing but Tom Waits and James Booker.
But I digress. It's a huge — and hugely fun, mind you — time-suck.
And then there's the day job: Another huge time-suck — albeit much less fun. The responsibilities are right in my wheelhouse, it positions me where I want to be career-wise, and I'd have been stupid to not step up to the plate. But it's still work. Now on a bigger stage, with more visibility, higher stakes, more problems inherent to the group, and so on.
The upshot: Sometimes I think we all suffer less from a fear of failure than fear of success. We know failure, we've been there before. It sucks, it hurts, we grieve, we move on. But success? Life working out to our advantage? What then?
I don't know, and I still might not know if and when success comes. We have been conditioned as a culture to think success is easy and results in things that look particularly good on TV. But that's not the case for most successful people. Certainly none I know. So who knows? Maybe most of us hardly even recognize success anymore. Maybe this, right now, is it.
Or maybe that's just me selling myself short with this fear-of-success thing. Bugger of a philosophical quandary, in any case.
I'd puzzle through it, but I'm waaaaayyy too goddamn busy.