I admit to possessing a vigilance and predictable resourcefulness that stacks odds in favor of positive outcomes. I am cursed with the very same thing. I deep dive into that relentless whatever-it-takes-ness that can make overwork my default. I constantly need to be vigilant about that, or I would surely push myself dangerously far.
I often flop into bed, after 18 hours or more of steady, focused production. Once in a while, I will admit to Doc that I’ve worked as hard as I could for that day.
“Nobody does that. If you did, you would be dead”.
I get that lonely wave of feeling misunderstood. “Must I die to prove my hard work?’
”No. You must work as hard as you want, and not expect it to impress me, or anyone else. If you choose to work hard, you should. I love you no matter what you do. Certainly, not for how hard you work”.
“But, aren’t you proud of all I do? How hard I try? How I’ll do almost any task, struggle to learn new skills, push ‘til I’m bruised and bleeding, if it comes to that? I will do almost anything needed, not complain, you know this, no matter how unpleasant, especially if it saves you from having to do it.” I shifted uncomfortable, knowing I was indulging myself in a very petty way, because I was so darn tired.
”Again, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I respect your choice to do what you want, how you want, and love you without controlling.”
Who was this wonderful angel-man talking?
It sounded nice, in theory, but there were so many years when we simply did not, could not, enjoy the luxury of such individuality and freedom. We had to coordinate our efforts always, in order to achieve a singular vision: the band. That often came with unending demands and control, with a need to confine our individual choices, to the demand of fulfilling our roles. Roles we each had outgrown long ago.
Unless you’ve experienced this all for yourself, unless you’ve lived and worked together as closely as we have, unless you have been through the transition to retirement, and the tsunami of adjustments to get there, you may not understand the possibilities of what can be. I certainly didn’t. I know life is unpredictable, and can change in a moment, but, right now, right here, it’s perfect.
We are both free. Creative. Productive as we each choose to be. Or not. Enjoying each other. And I’m learning I am free now to enjoy myself, even learning what that means. I am pouring myself into my new role as band leader, and whatever I grow into, diving deep into hours of whatever-it-takes-ness. There’s nothing to limit our choices. Each day is what we each choose it to be. And we get to do it together, alone. Perfect. ❤️