You can't please everyone

There's the old saying "you can't please everyone". Usually folks take that to mean that there are certain people who will never be pleased with what you do so don't bother trying to reach them. But there's a secondary way to read this phrase that I'd like to explore and that's the idea that it is exhausting to please everyone and everything that you really care about.

Over the years we accrue many friends, acquaintances, interests, fandoms, and things that mean something to us. And for the most part we can keep on top of engaging with each of these things. But over time we gain so many of them that we can no longer keep up with them in the same way that we used to engage with them. Those few hours with someone at a position we've held become sporadic contact because our job changed. That really cool thing that we found on the internet lead to several other really cool things on the internet and now engaging with all of them becomes physically exhausting.

We have to step back and realize which interactions are still bringing us joy and which ones are there because we feel an obligation to keeping these connections alive.

But there's the tendency to want to keep everything alive; to keep all of the plates spinning with the same intensity that we had when we first engaged with it. But keeping all of those plates spinning wears us out. We can't keep spinning all of them at the same time. Eventually the plates won't have enough momentum to keep going and they wobble and fall off their posts.

And that's OK, as long as we are conscious of which interactions we're letting go of for now. As long as we know which ones we want to keep and engage with them fully we can be OK with the ones that are no longer bringing us joy.

(This post is just a few notes to myself to remind myself that it's OK not to be all things to all people all the time. It's OK to let things go and let the plates fall where they may. And perhaps someday when I'm ready those unbroken plates can take the place of the other ones that have lost their momentum).