"I miss you, Sweetheart, be a good girl for GiGi!" she said before ending the call. This wasn't entirely a lie. She breathed a sigh of relief and sipped her coffee as she recalled the last time she was alone in her quiet home. It feels like a lifetime ago, but this was once her daily norm. Wake up, drink coffee, answer emails, be creative at her own pace until her newlywed husband came home from his grown-up job. Snuggle on the couch, play video games, go out for drinks, be social. Life was too easy, no wonder she wanted a baby.
Creativity felt more like a frenzy now. How much can be done in the few hours between 8pm to 12am? How many things have been promised to people this week? What time will be left to complete her own projects? When she started sharing her work online a few years ago, people from throughout her personal history began showing up with random projects. Web design, drawing tattoos, menus, brochures, movie editing, slideshows, image conversions, graphic design, logos, interior design, artwork, it is quite a long list. "It is a good thing to have so much interest, and for people to feel comfortable to ask for things. You are obviously doing something right." she thinks to herself. Silver linings were also a valuable part of her skill set.
It had become a burden sometimes, though, especially because it was difficult for her to charge these people. It is akin to being the 'guy' with a pick-up truck. There is an unspoken obligation to help people move things. Otherwise, you are the 'asshole' with a pick up truck. Is it not a pick-up trucks purpose to move things? It's actions that label people, not words. And, through these projects, undervalued opportunities can arise.
Finally finished for the day- everyone is fed, chores completed, emails answered, packages shipped- the rare but glorious moment of being fully current, and the chance to do something she wants to do. She sits in her chair with a glass of wine and counts her favorite ways to relax. Read? Netflix? Paint? Bubble bath? Sleep?" she said, posing her options out loud to her husband. "Oh my gosh, sleep...."
It is 8:30pm and she tucks herself in, puts her glasses on, and opens her iPad to Facebook. There is a message from an old creative acquaintance... requesting a favor... their first plan hadn't worked out... due tomorrow... for a memorial. It may as well have been God facebooking her. She got out of bed, put her clothes back on, and brewed some coffee. Then she painted the heavens to comfort a woman she didn't know, but felt for. A dear coworker of his had experienced a profound tragedy, a still birth.
When he came to pick up the small painting the following morning, she mentioned that it was an honor that he asked her for help. It was powerful and humbling to create something meaningful for someone who needs love and support from everyone. He thanked her again and said, "I owe you a favor." as he stepped out the door. She felt rewarded and renewed.
Footnote: This post reminds me of a quote that is often wrongly attributed to Pablo Picasso. I am too much of a feminist to be a fan of his character, but this quote is inspired. So, I fact checked it. I learned that it actually belongs to radio personality, psychiatrist, and author, David Viscott.
"The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away."
The history of the quote, and related information can be found here at Quote Investigator.