Dec 07 2017
I've been avoiding this post, probably because I don't want to think about some of these harder things. Thinking about them means acknowledging they are real.
As you know, I'm currently on a creative "sabbatical" in hopes of unearthing something meaningful to do with my life. This precious time won't last forever, yet I find myself refusing to enjoy it in its' entirety.
Part of the problem is my incessant need to know what lurks around every turn. Alas, there is no way to predict your life, especially when it's in flux. Logically, I know I am attempting the impossible by trying to know everything at all times. Yet I can't stop. I can't stop wondering what these paintings I'm creating, or this fabric I'm printing, or this metal I'm "smithing"...what is is leading to? I've always measured success by my career and none of the things I'm doing are leading to any shiny job titles at top companies.
Which leads me to yet another impossible contradiction! I just quit the exact job that I used to attach value to myself and others. Why is there so much value in a job title and being a part of a prestigious company? I think it's so we, as humans, can reckon our place in the world and see how we measure up against our peers. Which of course, breeds jealousy and insecurity in some cases. So why do it?
I don't know what to call myself right now – some days I feel like I have no identity. People I meet will ask "what do you do?" What do I say? Depending on the day, it could be any of the below:
• "I'm on a creative sabbatical right now, reflecting on my past and hoping to build something meaningful in the future."
• "I'm unemployed right now."
• "I'm not working."
• "I'm taking some time off."
• "I'm not sure what I'm doing, honestly."
• "I'm taking time to figure out my next move."
Most of those responses skew pretty negative, and they shouldn't. Taking time off to reflect, recharge and grow is vital but it feels shameful in our culture. Because it means you aren't working, you aren't earning money, you aren't contributing to society. It's not stable or secure. And for me, it doesn't have an end in sight (at least not yet).
I also think my squirming has to do with having extra time for myself. When I worked full-time, I didn't have the time to really be with myself and my thoughts. My brain was always occupied with the needs of my employer, first and foremost. Now, that is completely NOT the case – I wake up each day with myself and only myself to guide my day.
The last thing I want is to look back and wish I had used this time in a better way. I do appreciate the small moments that I didn't have when I worked full-time...like afternoon strolls in my neighborhood, or a leisurely cup of coffee. Or the ability to go to yoga when it's less busy. Or my painting time. And all these things will lead to something fruitful – they have to! Getting to know yourself and taking the path less traveled are two scary things but I trust deep down in my gut that it will take me to a place I wouldn't have gone to otherwise.
More to come, like, for sure.