Lately, I’ve been bone-tired. You know, the sort of tired that makes a body ache and the heart thud uncomfortably.
Thing is, I’ve been doing everything right. I’ve been eating well and – those who know me might go into shock over this – sleeping about seven to eight hours a night (OK, not every night, but most nights). I’ve been spending long, quality hours with my daughter, and am enjoying the working relationship I have with my biggest client. So… Why so damn tired?
Lately, I’ve also been putting in long, wonderful hours working on my passion project, Advice to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self, an anthology of advice letters written by fifty women to their teenage selves. The project is much more than just an anthology- this month, I’ll start leading some workshops in New York City schools that use some of the letters as inspiration to get teen and parent participants to write their own letters. Pretty cool, huh?
Honestly, even all of this isn’t sapping my energy- if anything, it’s making me feel even more motivated. See, the project is – besides raising my daughter – the best thing I’ve ever done.
The question remains: Why, if I’m so happy and healthy, have I been so bone-tired?
It has to do with a fundraising campaign I’ve put together for the ‘Advice’ anthology on Indiegogo:
It’ll sound crazy, and maybe even a little whiny, but I’ve been wondering why a handful of loved ones haven’t gotten involved. OK, it’s true: I have great family, and many wonderful friends who provide mental support. After all, the campaign for the anthology has been 31% funded – no small feat – this has been accomplished due to the generosity of friends and because they’ve shared news of the campaign with their networks. Their enthusiasm for the anthology is contagious. Indeed, a community is being built around the project.
But this past week, my heart has ached a little as I’ve wondered where some of my other friends have gone whose campaigns and projects I’ve helped supported over the years? Their absence has made me doubt the value of leading the Indiegogo campaign. It made my heart hurt a little. I felt … wiped out, and wondered about the very worth of my project.
I told you my reason for being exhausted might seem a little whiny. Writing all of this, I realize it might seem downright bratty to wonder over why a few pals haven’t gotten involved with my personal project (because it’s just plain silly to think that everyone and her grandmother would want to be involved, right?!).
Please, bear with me, because this post isn’t a bitchy boo-hooing over absent friends, but how I’ve gotten over them not being around.
Learning How to Give With No Strings Attached
I’ve been repeating to myself over and over that supporting others’ passion projects, donating a few bucks to their campaigns or directly giving my time to help with their work doesn’t mean they’re obligated to support my endeavors. Quite the opposite: helping friends should never come with any expectation of being helped in return.
Not Everyone is in a Position to Help
In fact, there have been plenty of times when others have helped me out, but I haven’t been in a position to help them in return- this hasn’t necessarily meant that I’ve been a crappy friend, but rather that I’ve been busy with my daughter, working like a dog, or any number of things that have required I concentrate on my own life. I shouldn’t expect all of my friends to drop everything to be there for me. We’re all busy.
Some Friends Just Aren’t, Well, Friends
That said, there are some friends, I’ve come to realize, who are always absent unless they need something from me. I don’t believe in cutting people off, but I do think it’s fine to phase people out.
Yesterday, I cleared my email and phone of all old contacts. It felt strange to delete names of people I used to know, but once I was down to the contacts that I actually use, I felt great.
That said, there are some contacts that remain that are rarely used. Friends I either rarely see because our schedules are too crazy, or individuals who, despite not being the best of friends, I love too much to drop. I’ll always be there even for this second group of people, although in the future, I might not be as willing to be at their beck and call.
Concentrate on the Friendships that Provide Warmth
Real friends have stepped in over the years and – while not necessarily supporting every one of my endeavors – have provided moral support in innumerable ways – those are the people I can count on to show up for my kid’s concerts, dinners, game nights and the ilk. They are the ones who helped provide childcare, listened to my various woes, and just allowed me room to let my guard down.
Concentrating on my friends who are present – even if not for this particular project – is healthy. They are the friends who- even when they are too busy to help with my project- will at least send a quick email to lend moral support.
Relationships are powerful. I always like to think I can “go it alone,” but the truth of it is that I need the support of loved ones. Recently, I was letting the absence of some people get the better of me – it was affecting my levels of energy and contributed to my overall bone-tired feeling.
No more. As of today, I’m going to shed the bitterness and think only about how supported I am. Instead of concentrating on what I’m not receiving, I’ll be thankful for the support I am receiving from friends, family and the communities I’m in.
Life is good. I am loved. My passion project is worthy.