Too much going on

There are too many things in my life right now. Podcast. Job. Start-up. Kids. Speaking gigs. 

The problem is I enjoy them all, and think they are all important things for me to be doing right now. It is the season for all of them.

There are consequences though. The first is my social life - I do not have the space or energy to invest in relationships like I want to. The second is creative energy - once again, I don't have the space and energy to reflect and draw my creativity out. The third is presence - as I am putting more into each day, my base level of stress seems to rise and I check my phone more, rush more from place to place.

What to do? Is this just a season in my life? Can I make the space and energy I need? I want to connect and create and be present.

As a start, here are some things to do that will create some more space and energy in my life:

1) Outsource: the editing of my podcast sucks out my energy and time. I can outsource this

2) Reduce living costs: I have some regular expenses in my life that I can reduce, which would also reduce my stress

3) Say no: there are somethings, some catchups that are not quite right for me. In saying no to them I say yes to space and energy for creativity, friendships, and presence.

Single benefits

There are certainly positives to being a single, part-time parent. Although I consider myself a full-time dad, having my kids with me for one week, and then away the next week, means that I am not parenting all the time. And while I miss them terribly when they are not with me, it does open up opportunities for other things.

The things I am referring to are extended periods of time to do what I want to do, hang out with the people I want to hang out with, and generally use my time on understanding and expressing myself however I feel without anybody commenting or influencing me.

I see this as a contrast to when I was married and living with my wife and kids all the time. It was as if we felt we had to do everything together. I can't really remember doing many things by myself during that period, apart from going to work. I don't think I gave my wife the freedom to explore and express herself; I am not sure I could have handled it. And I did not take that on for myself either.

Now that I have been forced into it, I can see that I am able to handle being a solo parent for extended periods of time. It is difficult for sure, but it is possible.

The question that comes to my mind then, is whether this is possible for people who are still in a relationship? Can they give the other parent extended periods of time to explore projects, hang out with friends, go on holidays, while they look after the kids by themselves?

I think it is possible, and could even be better. My retrospective guess at why this is not commonly practised is that there is a fear of losing the other person; that in giving them room and space to be explore themselves, it could mean the end of the relationship. They might discover they want even more freedom, or we might find out we don't like who they truely are.

In having a week to myself every second week I have found great freedom in following my curiosities without constraint. I can imagine that this would be even more exciting and fulfilling (and risky and scary?) if conducted within a relationship.


For me, they boil down to this

When I think about intimate relationships, for me the crux of it all boils down to this:

1) Am I willing to allow the other person to be exactly as they are, to accept and love them for their whole person, over the course of this relationship?

2) Am I willing to explore and express my whole person, to be true to myself over the course of this relationship?

3) Am I fully accepted and loved by the other person as I reveal more of who I am over the course of this relationship?

In the early days of a relationship it is very easy to naively say 'Yes' to these three questions. And it doesn't matter if the relationship started in your 20s, or 70s, or whether it is your 1st of 10th. It is always the same feeling of elation and optimism, and perhaps without it no relationship would ever start.

As time rolls on there will inevitably come more than one moment when your partner shows you part of who they are, and you don't like it. In fact you are repulsed by it. And correspondingly there will come a moment when you want to reveal part of who you are, and there is a risk that your partner will not accept it because it is not who they think you are or want you to be.

For me that is the true test of a relationship: that moment of seeing and accepting the other, and seeing and revealing ourselves.