The Good Stuff and The Unmentionable Things

design prototype by Helen YungBeen too busy to blog.* Tonight I got home and decided I needed to make dinner for the first time in weeks, no matter how simple or quick. A pause, during which my senses would be mindfully engaged in doing something other than designing, organizing, pitching, planning, conspiring, troubleshooting, negotiating, or weathering storms internal. I headed out to the small grocer down the street and ran into my Portuguese neighbour.
“How are you?”
Naturally, I sighed: “Busy!”
“That’s good!”
“Too busy!” …’Not healthy’ was probably my next thought.
“But –“
“Lucky. Busy is lucky. You’re young. It’s good. Lucky.”
“Yes, lucky. I just want to do a good job. With everything.”
That exchange goes with a thought that’s been running through my mind every morning: “These are the good years.”
It’s not just busy. When I’m older, wiser, not busy, I will look back and remember these times, the up and down swings as the good years. This is the good stuff. It’s kind of awful some of it. Frustrating, upsetting stuff. And some things.. unspeakable. Unmentionable things.
And yet – these will be the good years. Maybe just the beginning too. We are lucky. This is not war, nor an outbreak. It’s Life, and the nicer bits.
Does that sound trite? Conspicuously pat. I don’t know – I feel a fairly constant wash of gratitude colour me inside even while biking down the street with tears running down my face.
. . .
*What am I so busy with? Before I left for Europe (and while I was over there) I was working on the Culture Days National Congress and a new video series on digital marketing and sponsorship stewardship and activation. Simultaneously I was, if memory serves, designing the environment for PS: We Are All Here, scoping out a public engagement event for a colleague, designing the set for A Midsummer’s Night Dream, writing design statements and budgets for upcoming projects, preparing for the Affective Cities conference (I’ll be presenting on Tuesday), building a new digital interactive installation (scoping out the interactive & design elements, lining up partnerships, organizing a soft launch in Dubai, planning for a Toronto premiere soon after)… that’s all I can recall at the moment. There’s been a lot of stepping in and out of meetings, crossing town to look at materials, comparing quotes… Thank goodness I like the people I work with. All this jostling and jostling to the point where my brain can’t file things away like it used to. Or is it a function of the dirty thirties? Since returning from Europe, I’ve been continuing those projects, and wrapping up deliverables for outstanding projects, meeting about new ones, preparing for a nomadic residency in Australia this fall, planning for the next Whole Shebang, started planning for a new 2-year multi-community project in Ontario, and am now getting ready to plunge back into creation for Gertrude & Alice.
The trick to juggling, I think someone said, is to ‘Throw, don’t catch.’
Some nights though, you have to catch the ball and just consider its weight and roundness. Where’s the delight and revelation otherwise?

One response to “The Good Stuff and The Unmentionable Things

  1. The other trick to juggling when just starting out is keeping the balls arcing up at eye level and never looking down at your hands – focusing on the results and not the effort.

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