This is just not true.
I have an incredible love life. I have amazing friends. And I work very hard at what I do, and have a lengthy novel (of what I feel is quality stuff) before the age of 30.
Now, I will say this:
Since getting married, many of my friends dropped off. 85% of them, I’d guess. Since starting the book, even more dropped off. Some of them told me outright to my face that I was going to fail. Told Vasant and I that our dreams of creating art where folly and parted ways with us because we were just “too different”.
I have incredibly close friends. My sisters, Emily, Mary and Claire. My friends, Danielle and Matt, Will, my friend since the age of two, Jen Bliss. I have Jules, who is now a real-life friend, as well as here on Tumblr, and Tumblr… I am loving some of you so much lately (I’m especially, but not exclusively, looking at you Erin and Jennifer). I can’t wait to meet some of you in real life, like I met Jules.
I have a bunch of friends whom I won’t list here, but who are still there for Vasant and I. One couple even moved down to Vancouver to live with my friend’s mother, because they were inspired by our “it’s never too late to go back to school and the price of education isn’t too high to live with family” ideal. They were our champions when others let us know they looked down on us for it, both directly and in a passive agressive “do you know so and so is talking about you” kind of way.
So I’d say I have 20% of the friends that I did before I got married and before I started writing. But I can tell you this: the friends I have now are better than the ones I lost, with the exception of one single person.
And I have to work hard at my marriage. I have to work hard at my book and my art. My life is not easy. I strive for the best in all these areas and so often, over the years, I feel like I fail miserably before I succeed. But the failures are part of what make the art great. Failures make a marriage more interesting, and most importantly of all…
Failures are how you tell who really loves you.
Writing a book, marrying who I married, moving back in with my parents so we could finish school… it rooted out a lot of people who were gossipy naysayers in my life. For a while, this was incredibly depressing. But now, as I find a home for my book in the world, as I look around at a smaller, but truer group of friends and *cough* tonight when Vasant comes home…. I know that it is possible with bullheaded idealism, perseverance and grace, to have all three.
So the poem is right and wrong. It does cost you to have something truly GREAT in your life, but it’s wrong to assume that the cost you pay means that you can’t have all three. You can. It will cost you heartache and tears and late nights. It may take your health for a time and you will lose friends who weren’t worth keeping. However, if you persevere and work hard at all three, you can have it.
And that’s a lesson it’s taken me six years to learn.