This is going to be a longer than usual post. You might want to freshen up your coffee and snuggle into your favorite chair. I think you’ll enjoy it.
When I initially started my creative journey last year, I had little idea of where it would lead.
I had a vague notion that I would like to learn how to do mixed media painting, and I think the idea crossed my mind that I would like to have another business, but I was open to just going along, experimenting with various creative endeavors and seeing what would happen.
I was already a passionate gardener and scrapbooker. And when I started my blog, I rediscovered the joy of writing. I eventually worked up the courage to try painting, and found in it a new passion, and soon added photography to my new list of loves.
Along the way I decided to go for the idea of turning my painting into a business, and opened an Etsy shop, naively thinking it would be a great way to connect with potential buyers, only to find it to be an incredibly competitive venue that lead nowhere. Sales were, to be charitable, lackluster, and the canvases began to stack up. In the back of my mind there was a constant effort being made to figure out how I would be able to find the people with whom my art would resonate. It was creating stress without me even realizing it, but the idea was beginning to penetrate my consciousness that to make the business happen was going to require a LOT of time and effort, most of it doing things I don’t like doing.
During all this time I blogged nearly every day, learned to knit, made Artist Trading cards to swap with my arty friends, made inspiration decks, and was chosen for an internship working with my “artist hero” Kelly Rae Roberts. I was making art with my granddaughters, tending my garden, taking tons of pictures, and learning photoshop. We’ve been doing a little traveling, I’ve spent time visiting with my girlies on Facebook, and I’ve gotten back into following politics…
Where in the world would I find the time to put into building the business? What would I need to give up to make it happen?
These weren’t conscious thoughts. I was just going along, doing what I do, with the mild stressor in the background that I wasn’t making any progress on the business front.
Then I had a little dust up with a friend on Facebook over politics. It upset me a lot, and me sent into a couple of day funk. I kept thinking about how unfair it was that I couldn’t speak my mind w/o alienating people I care for. It felt stifling. My thoughts whirled. I wrote long posts trying to mentally work through it. I came close to hitting publish, but red lights were going off in my head, and I didn’t. At some point I realized that as much as I love politics, nothing I could say would change anyone’s mind, so I was wasting my time trying. Yes, I could say whatever I wanted, but the price I would have to pay for it was too high. And as long as I was thinking about wasting time, and the cost of my actions, I started thinking about other things that fit into the category of not positively affecting my life, my family’s life or the world.
Last night, instead of the post I WANTED to publish, I did one on “not needing to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” I looked at it as being a “filler” post. I had no idea it would come into play in my life so quickly.
This morning I was flipping out over an artist bio I needed to do. A friend in my art group helped me with a prompt and I no sooner hit send when I had a lightbulb moment of realization that a business is not going to work for me. I don’t need the money (or the stress) and it will cost me way too much in terms of the “price I will have to pay” and the things I will have to give up in order to make it happen.
An almost instant feeling of peace washed over me. I had taken the first step to prioritizing my life differently, even though I couldn’t see the whole staircase. I would not have to give up my art. I could still do it as a hobby. Visions flew through my head about getting back to my scrapbooks (which have been woefully neglected) and incorporating my art in them. I immediately got on line and told my girlies. It felt like such a monumental thing.
But as the day progressed, I realized how little had changed. It was just a small shift. And yet mentally, it has made a world of difference.
I still don’t know where this creative journey is going to take me. Who knows what opportunity might fall in my lap? What I do know is that at my age, life, under the best of circumstances, is too short to be doing things I don’t want to do. It is too short to fill with unnecessary stress and things that don’t matter. AND, I need to slow down and savor whatever it is I’m doing, instead of trying to cram in so much that the days fly by with no definition.
Thanks for being here supporting me while I figure this all out. Don’t know what I’d do without you.