I don’t have children. I’m not a parent.
But I imagine that when you become one, it’s the most beautiful moment in the world and you love every minute of it. I also imagine that this small knot of worry settles permanently into your stomach. That you have created something that you are now responsible for. That you are the one who figures out how to care for this thing, how to nurture it, how to sustain it over time, how to grow it and mold it and shape it to the best of your abilities. That it keeps you awake at night.
I don’t have children, but I do help run a small theatre company.
I have been staring at the budgets and the grant proposals and the ideas on the table for next season and the money and the money and the money and the money and the production and the marketing and the costs and the ideas and the paychecks and oh, god, the money — and it kind of feels like a similar thing. I love this job. It’s the most beautiful job I’ve ever had. I love these people. I love this company.
But when I came to be a part of this organization, a similar knot of worry started to grow, and settle down in the pit of my soul. I love this company. I love this job. I love it more than any other job I have ever had. But it keeps me up at night. My knot of worry is a pretty constant companion.
I know people — many people, in fact, mentors and friends alike — who both have children and who run companies. Who manage to balance a life in the arts with a life in a family. Who manage to live as both artists and businesspeople, who are responsible for others in a way that seems jawdroppingly, staggeringly difficult to me. Who manage to make it look easy.
I have no idea how the hell you people do it.
Running a company is really hard.
Surviving in the world as an artist is hard, too.
Being a parent has to be way, way harder.
Doing more than one of these at a time? Holy shit. How? You must all be goddamned superheroes.
I think I want to have kids someday. I also want to continue to work as an artist. I want to believe that those two goals are not mutually exclusive.
You people who manage to do all those things completely inspire me. I have a whole lot of respect for you, and I know that your work probably goes unappreciated pretty often.
So, hey. If you’re reading this, and you identify with the stuff I just wrote:
Thank you. I bet no one has stopped to tell you this in awhile, but I think you are pretty incredible, and I can only imagine how hard you are working. People like you inspire the hell out of people like me.
You make me believe that my anxiety knot is totally, totally worth it.