There are some days I look at my life and I think “holy crap, how did I get here?” Actually, that happens most days. OK, pretty much every day I think about how good I’ve got it.
For one, I love my job. Of course, if I didn’t I’d need to be checked into a loony bin. I’m wined and dined and feted; I attend openings and amazing events; every single time I go out it’s a write-off. For spring break I’m touring the neighborhoods with my son and it’s legitimately part of my job. Since I work from home I can, and often do, stay in my robe until noon and if I’m not on Facebook and Twitter it means I’m slacking.
Now that you’re thoroughly disgusted, there is the other side of the coin: for every event, dinner, opening, and any other activity I participate in there are several hours of follow up required in addition to the day to day duties of running a business. That means I sleep less than a rock star on tour, work more hours than the tour manager, and make less than the roadie. But, I believe in what I do and I know it’s what I’m meant to do. Not because I’m having fun, but because I get to help so many others have fun. There’s enough negativity and drama in the world and it is unbelievably fulfilling to shove those aside and bring some happiness and smiles in their place.
Another reason I love my life is my friends. I’ve met some pretty incredible people over the years and I’m proud to call so many of them friends – not just acquaintances, but friends. Heck, even the acquaintances are people I want to make friends if only I had the time.
This in and of itself is an accomplishment for me. Ten years ago I was shy; five years before that the shyness was crippling enough that I would keep my head down at the grocery store for fear the clerk would talk to me. To now walk into a room and feel love and loved is something I treasure. To receive the affection that is shown daily in person and through social media gives me almost an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and I only hope that I’m obvious in return.
Then there are my parents. Mom and Dad are giving, supportive, loving, and forgiving. They’re my stalwart allies and my staunchest friends. Mom is and has been since I was a teenager my best friend (yes Mom, even when I was a teenager). If I have a problem, I call Mom. If I have something to celebrate, I call Mom. If I’ve got nothing to say but just want to hear a friendly voice, I call Mom. She’s been my inspiration for so long – but that’s for another post.
Now Dad and I, like many fathers and daughters, have had our struggles over the years, but I always have been and always will be Daddy’s girl. Not in the traditional sense, where he wanted to keep me in frilly dresses and never see me married. I know I’m Daddy’s girl because I can tell how proud he is of what I’ve accomplished. And I’m Daddy’s Girl because in so many ways he’s my mentor. As an artist he was the at-home parent. Growing up it was a bit of a pain because we couldn’t have friends over since he was working. But as I watched him each and every day work on his art and skill and craft, all day, until dinner, and then after dinner when we all went to bed, I learned the discipline it takes to do something you believe in and to do something that won’t get done unless you are the one up at 1am.
And finally, boy do I ever have it good with my son. I am so in awe of the relationship I have with him that it fills my heart. His birthday is the day before mine. He’s going to be 17 in a little over a month, and instead of any kind of teenage drama, he and I have gotten closer and closer. This week he’s been touring the city with me, patiently shooting video and toting my notes and putting up with me checking in on Twitter, Facebook, and Whrrl (truth be told he’s also checking in with his friends, so that’s not too much of a sacrifice). He knew that’s what we were going to do and had been excited about it for weeks. Now that he’s actually doing it he thinks it’s more fun than being in Florida. (OK, maybe he’s just telling me that, but doesn’t that also illustrate my point?)
I’ve been a non-custodial parent since his dad & I divorced almost 16 years ago. That’s also for another post, but suffice it to say I’ve questioned my status and ability as a parent for oh, almost 16 years. To see my son now and the person he is, and to KNOW that my influence helped him to become this fun, positive, adventurous, respectful almost-adult is the best validation I can hope for that I, actually, am a good parent, and a good person.
On those days, which is every day, when I look at my life in awe, I realize that I’ve worked hard to be so lucky. There have been some confoundedly rough patches and times when I had no idea who I was. Fortunately, I’ve known for quite some time now who I am and those rough patches are almost entirely smoothed out, but I still make a choice each and every moment to appreciate what I have now, to hope for more, and to respect what I’ve been through to get here.
I know that this isn’t as good as it gets, but it’s on its way there and as it is, it’s pretty damn good.