I’ve noticed that when I start the day doing something I enjoy, my day seems to go a lot better. I used to live in an apartment complex and so I’d start each morning with a swim and a soak in the hot tub. But, my current home has neither hot tub nor pool. So, I’ve substituted it with sit-ups and a bath.
As you might imagine, the bathroom can get a bit muggy, so I open the window. Since it’s the morning, and since I live near a school, I hear the sounds of the children as they’re ushered on their ways. Sometimes their happy, sometimes the moms are chatty. Other times… not so much.
It got me thinking, about how the children cry and how small and irrelevant their pleas for stress relief are. Their problems are so small: untied shoelace, the walk is too long, they don’t get to stay home and watch (insert time-appropriate children’s show here), the girl they like dismissed their attention yesterday, you get the picture. Small fleeting problems seem so large to them.
Of course, I wouldn’t be much of a thinker if I didn’t apply the same logic to myself. I get so upset when Client procrastinates for weeks, then calls up 5:00pm and demands a cut by 9:00am the next morning. Or, some part of my script isn’t working–those are the worst. Suddenly, all my previous work is irrelevant and I question not only my artistic ability, but the course of my career, and yes, even the usefulness of my very existence.
As an existentialist, I’ve got a couple, contrary opinions on this.
1) THE FOREST: My problems really aren’t that big. Not only that, but I’ve got enough life-experience to know that the problems will work themselves out (with some sweat-equity) and then I’ll be the happy/content/fun person my friends all know and love.
2) THE TREES: Being human means having problems. Staying human means that those problems are real and the emotions I have relating to them are real and valid. If I chose to ignore my emotions, then they bottle themselves up and eventually overflow at some time in my life when it’s the least convenient: on set, to my wife, at friends (I almost lost a few for just that reason).
There is a perspective question people like to use, “Your missing the forest for the trees. It means that sometimes people nitpick problems and don’t see the larger picture. But, being human means that we can actually do both. In fact, I’d argue that it’s important for our future that we learn to do both, at least that’s the case for me.