Unexpected challenges, opportunities and successes.
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. When I started writing this post, it was one interesting week, but now it’s spun out over two. Busy and difficult week at work. Meetings, in person, in town over the weekend, for the first time since the pandemic started. I took on a short film project, also for the first time in years.
And it all worked out.
Driving into town for a in-person meeting was weird. Traffic was back to LA’s normal; that is, hideous. Just being back in traffic is surprisingly stressful. You don’t realize what you get used to. But also being in a busy part of town, where I hadn’t been before, which would have been challenging anyway was entirely surreal. Even with social distancing this was the most people, the most strangers, I had been around in over a year. The pandemic means things that should be normal are like doing them for the first time all over again. Everything is strange and new again.
The bigger surprise was taking on editing the short film. This could have been a huge mistake, but I’m frustrated with my work situation and needed to roll the dice. This meant staying up late at night, getting up early in the morning to cram that in on top of the tough day job. It meant making a lot of decisions quickly, not second-guessing. It really could have been a disaster. But wasn’t. I hadn’t been sleeping well anyway, but staying up late and getting up early while doing something wasn’t the crisis I thought it would be. So the film got done and the client loves the work. It was an odd and unexpected win, both for editing and functioning in general.
The combination of burn-out and the pandemic has meant I’ve lowered the bar on “functioning” to basically stumbling through my day job without blowing up or walking out. It didn’t used to be like that. Presumably there’s some way for it not to be like that again. At my best, I’m prolific in both day-job work and side projects. I’m tempted to say the goal is to get back to that, but the caveat is I need to enjoy it. Since I moved to LA I’ve been in survival mode which, ironically, is ultimately not survivable. And not enjoyable.
Actually, part of the problem with television work is, while it’s interesting, it’s not designed to be survivable either. It’s high pressure, high performance. There’s a lot of uncertainty and you need to take breaks and manage yourself. If you don’t you can run yourself into the ground very easily. Done well, it’s challenging. Down poorly, it’s a constant rush into oblivion.
So, I should take this as a win. Functioning! The tough day job finished on Friday. My time is my own for a while – to recharge and regroup and rethink and remember I can function, and do more than just get by. And hopefully something fun happens next.