On Realistic Expectations, or, “How Lin-Manuel Miranda Brightened My Day — Again”

Day 2 of a Chronic-Fatigue-As-Caused-By-Antihistone-Markers bout. I’m EXHAUSTED. I’m also wildly frustrated. Given the well, chronic, nature of autoimmune symptoms, it’s really hard to build momentum, and I feel like I never make any progress.

Progress on what, you ask? Well anything, really: work/rebuilding my business, cleaning, furniture hunting/decorating (good LORD, that’s a topic of its own), etc. Not exactly Lin-Manuel Miranda levels of creative output, but important nonetheless.

This made me feel better.

I realized that even though I know most celebrities have teams of people handling their business, I always think of Lin as a one-man band. Oh, a collaborator to be sure, but someone who handles all of his projects, travels, writing, etc., by himself. One more way he’s separated from the rest of us. How reassuring to know that in order to create all of that magic, he might need more than a Google Calendar reminder!

LMM looms large in my mind of late because we’ve just had 6 weeks of what I refer to as a “Hamilton Intensive,” as my daughter chose Eliza Schuyler Hamilton for her Famous Americans Project. Several weeks of study, prep and presentation, all while listening to the “Hamilton” soundtrack, was capped by finally seeing the show in Tampa. More than once during these weeks, it’s occurred to me that Lin is only a year older than me.

It’s not a comfortable thought.

Look what he’s accomplished! (No, seriously, look. Unbelievable.) Meanwhile, I successfully responded to a few texts and emails today. I used to write historical fiction while getting straight A’s, playing sports and nurturing a script project I called “Dodson’s Creek,” named after my best guy friend (on whom, for the record, I did not have a crush by that point). I was a smart, overachieving emphath! What happened?!

No, don’t worry. I’m not really weighing myself against a once-in-a-generation talent. But we do compare ourselves to others’ successes. It comes up briefly, a fleeting comparison that asks, “Why couldn’t I have done that?”

Reminders, like LMM’s tweet, that there’s always more behind the scenes, are balms to that itch of comparison. No, no one does it all on their own. No one has it all together. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone needs help. We know all of that. But when someone shows the work, the process, the team, the anxieties experienced – that’s where it really connects.

Some things, like shared anxieties, can affect all of us at any point and make us feel like we, too, can overcome! Others, like a full team working with/behind you, don’t come until you’ve reached a certain level of business or financial success. But that’s still helpful to know because you’re not paralyzed by chasing unrealistic expectations of what one person can accomplish.

I’m no less exhausted as I reach the end of this post, but I have reached the end of writing a post! I’d call that progress, and all thanks to a tweet-behind-the-curtain.

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