I’ve been reaching out to people I admire to share their why bother stories – the times in their lives they felt stuck or lost or despairing – big or and small – and what turned things around.
Today’s story is from the fabulous Tori Press, author of I Am Definitely, Probably Enough (I Think), out May 2020….
Can you tell me about a time in your life when you felt discouraged or defeated and wondered, “Ugh, why bother? What’s the point?”
In the fall of 2016, my life commitments were all piling up, one on top of another: homeschooling my two daughters, running a freelance graphic design business (with lots of last-minute, quick-turnaround projects), and trying to maintain some semblance of work-life balance throughout all of it. After weeks of dropping homeschool projects with my children to finish rush projects for clients—and vice versa—I was feeling burned out, uninspired, exhausted, defeated. I felt like I was trying to do too many things, and not doing any of them well. I wondered why I was bothering with any of it.
What brought you out of it, tipped you into bothering again?
I didn’t know exactly what to do, but I did know that something had to give. I needed to create space in my life. I spent time thinking, meditating, and talking with loved ones about the right path, and as I introspected, I realized that walking away from my freelance design business felt like the scary—but right—choice. I wrapped up my existing projects, referred my clients to trusted colleagues, shut down my business, and sat with the new space I’d made in my life. For a few weeks, the emptiness was nice, but I didn’t find any extra energy or engagement until I realized I was missing having a creative outlet. So I decided to buy myself as gift: a sketchbook and a set of markers, and I set out to make drawings just for myself. I had no way of knowing how this choice would change me. Drawing felt absolutely magical. I was captivated, obsessed—suddenly I wanted to spend all my time doing it! I’d done a total 180 from my “why bother?” attitude of just a few months prior.
What’s something you feel bothered about right now, in a positive way? What makes you excited to get out of bed?
I’m still just as obsessed with my work these days as I was when I started it—but what really makes me excited to get out of bed each morning is the incredible community of people that follow my cartoons and share their own experiences with me on social media. I draw about topics like mindfulness, perfectionism, mental health and therapy, and many other ups and downs of being human—and where I started out thinking I was alone in my struggles and quirks, I’ve realized I’m in an abundance of company.