Ramblings From A Project Manager’s Existential Crisis

jen-4I am a project manager. Not like a project manager that takes the latest widget from concept to production (tho that does sound sorta fun to me), but a project manager for creative stuffs – music, print pieces, space remodels and re-orgs…these are my jam. I love working at a fast pace and I’ve always been able to handle multiple things at once – in fact I get kind of bored if I’m not juggling one too many projects at a time. A few years ago, this all caught up with me and I experienced a really nice season of burnout. Thankfully, I was able to slow things down and took some ample time to recuperate.

Over the past year, I’ve felt my capacity growing again. I’ve craved the excitement of dreaming up ideas, creating project scopes, scheduling and assigning tasks, setting budgets, and hitting the GO button. For those of you following along, this is most evidently seen in our house remodel and in some of the CatBeach Music projects we’ve initiated this year. I’ve seriously loved these projects – they are stretching me and growing me in all kinds of ways…but I’ve been feeling like there is something more…

A few week’s ago, I was chatting with a good friend about my state of being. I explained that I have lot’s of ideas and there are things that I want to do, but maybe I’d missed my chance. I was in a bit of a state of panic because I felt somehow held back…like I’m ready to go…but I’m not allowed to even step up to the starting line.  So my friend offered me this opinion and it stopped me dead in my tracks. She said that while the house remodel and music projects aren’t bad choices, that I am not living to my fullest. She went on to say that I am “wasted in the things I’m invested in” and that if I were operating at a high level in Habitat For Humanity or Samaritan’s Purse or something like that, the whole world would be different. The. Whole. World.

Like I said, this stopped me in my tracks. Am I selfish? Are my projects indulgent? Does the music we make even matter? Will our house really be a creative space for our artists and our friends and our family? Should I go back into the non-profit world where I can be confident that my work has significance and worth? I wrestled with these questions for the next couple of weeks…churning them around inside until I was completely spun out.  And one day, while on a long drive with Bobby, I blurted out the whole story…I explained that I’ve wasted my life and I’m not doing anything worthwhile and that well….”I have to go work for Habitat!! I’m serious – the world needs me!”

When I was done with my rant, my husband looked over at me – his face was a mix of anger, confusion and compassion all wrapped up in one. How could my friend have said such things? Why would I receive them so whole-heartedly? What was happening in my spirit and soul?  And then, he began to speak life and truth back into me.  He said that what I did was ‘bring beauty into the world.’ That I created peace in our home and at his studio. That I set up systems and workflows that allowed him to create his music. And he said, “it all matters.” He reminded me that putting beauty into the world is to join with creation…and whether people see it or not, it impacts the whole world. The. Whole. World.

As he spoke, I realized that my core was completely shaken. I love my friend very much (and I know she loves me), but I was allowing her to place her own convictions on me. For her, service is where she finds a sense of satisfaction and worth. But I make things. I create beautiful spaces. I find satisfaction and worth in a completed video or on album release day. And it matters. To take on her convictions, I am submitting to institutional thinking, when I know that there is so much more.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Habitat For Humanity, and have even helped to build a house or two in my day. I have great respect and admiration for people who give their lives to serve people in need and distress. But this is only one fraction of the fabric that is woven together to create a full and beautiful world. We all have our part to play.

I admit, I am just getting back on my feet and this is only the beginning of a new chapter. I’m finding my soul and spirit again…holding firm to the way in which I can truly, honestly and uniquely contribute to this world. I’m proudly embracing my gifts and dreams and digging deep to be fully me.



One Response to Ramblings From A Project Manager’s Existential Crisis

  1. sarah says:

    I totally hear what you are saying Jen. Us creative types get written off even by our own sphere. As i write this, I am shutting out the world, the chaos around me to fully appreciate that I am typing for the first time on my very own chromebook. I have a story in me, many in fact that I have been commissioned to share. All the words have been laid on my heart three years ago. I wrote it off as an “extra” and did not prioritize it at the same level as the daily tasks I have as Mother, small business owner, wife, friend, daughter, etc. About a month a beautiful Women in the faith told me, “write your book” “tell your story, the world needs to hear it”. So I started wrestling again with despair, time, finances, all the roadblocks you typically encounter when God gives you something to share. Artists of every kind have an OBLIGATION to share the beauty we see. We have an OBLIGATION to create. Your work is not insignificant. You inspire me and countless others. xoxoxo

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