People are complex. Clients lose faith. Vendors miss deadlines. Shipments get lost. Budgets get cut. Working alone can be frustrating and disheartening.
I'm lucky because I can rely on my husband and kids to help me rise out of a funk (and, if I'm honest, even the cat). But I've learned that there is some stuff I shouldn't share with them. They have enough of their own stress and they don't need mine (yes, even the cat).
Like most of us I find that having a handful of friends in similar situations is a huge help. I've got designer friends I can count on. One friend has been independent for decades and she has a certain wisdom from being a few years ahead of me and has given me good insight into what to expect with long-term clients, economic ebbs and flows, evolving healthcare, etc. I also have some younger friends—one is about ten years younger and one graduated from design school just a few years ago—that give me something very different. They always seem to have the scoop on software and technical issues and the industry in general.
But the take away I want you to remember today is that I am my own support system. I know what it takes for me to feel good about myself. What I need to keep showing up each day ready to bring my best.
I need to be outdoors. I need fresh air and sunshine and dirt under my fingernails.
I need flowers in my garden and on my kitchen windowsill.
I need 7.5-8.5 hours of sleep each night.
I need to make something, anything, every single day.
I need to eat locally grown foods prepared simply in my own kitchen.
I need to read the newspaper each morning and a novel each night.
I need a working camera.
And I need time to explore alone with my camera in hand.
This weekend I was off at a National Leadership meeting of the AIGA. I'm going to add them to the list too. I need the AIGA.
I've supported the national organization since 1989. I've paid dues for close to thirty years because they have always tried to engage a broader audience in design. But what I learned this weekend is that they have my back. And that is something we all need.