I want to apologize.
First, I want to apologize that we’re not having this conversation face-to-face. Sometimes, I get nervous. It’s much easier to say what I want to say in writing, where I can obsess over each word and carefully craft each sentence.
So, I’ll start by apologizing for that. I’ll start by apologizing that I’m putting some distance and the filter of my writing between us.
By now, though, I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m actually apologizing. So let’s just get to that.
I know you sent me that Facebook invite, and I clicked “going,” or “interested,” or I just didn’t respond. I know last week when you brought up your event I said something positive but non-committal like, “yeah, that could be fun.” I know when you sent me that message to come meet up with you last minute, I pretended like I didn’t see it, or like I was already asleep.
And then, after all that, I didn’t even make an appearance at your birthday party/house warming/improv show/casual get together/group dinner/art opening/college reunion/happy hour/bonfire/wedding/bris/______ (your event here).
I’m sorry. I really am.
But that was two years ago.
And right now, in May of 2016, I don’t feel very extroverted.
More and more, I find myself celebrating an empty calendar. More and more, I find myself savoring the weekends with extra “me time” — whether that’s simply reading a book, playing a video game, or even cleaning my house (that’s some real zen shit right there). More and more, I fear the weekends where the purple and red blocks define my schedule rather than my own whims and fancies.
The issue is, of course, on that same Saturday night, the one where I dream of organizing my desk or clicking around on the computer, you’ve also invited me to your event.
You’re my friend, after all. I care about you. I want to support you. I want to celebrate with you.
The problem is that every choice we make comes with a very real cost. Even if the event is free, anything we decide to do costs us time and energy. And unlike money, those investments are nonrenewable.
In college, there was this chart some of my friends passed around. It was a triangle with three options, but you could only choose two — sleep, studying, or a social life.
As creative people, we all face our own “choose two.” We must pick between down time, social time, and creative time.
Obviously, I’d like to have it all. I’d like to work on my creative projects, go out all night, and still have enough time to sleep and relax, but it’s just not possible. Choosing all three means spreading myself too thin — rather than succeeding at any one or two, I fail at all three. And that’s not a fun place to be.
Some people recharge in social settings — that’s what extroverts are supposed to do. But I’ve found that that’s just not the case for me. Even when I’m having fun out on the town, I still need time at home (and lots of sleep) to keep my energy levels up.
But maybe some time you could come over and we could play a board game? That would be fun.