Weather: Well it’s been two months of HELLISH humidity and heat, and now we seem to be boarding the late August rollercoaster of OMG HOT and Ahhhh! Sweet Fall Temptation then back to OMG HOT! in rapid succession. Have I mentioned how much I hate summer here in the Midwest? Well…that will have to be another, much LONGER post.
The thought behind this post today came from a jumbling of things that have been ongoing over the course of the last year.
The always lovely and talented Kambriel posted a blog of her time visiting Neil Gaiman at his home, and the photos in the blog drove home something that has been rattling around in my brain for a while: The fact that Brian (my husband) and I are not living the life we’re supposed to be living. Mind you, this has nothing to do with wealth or fame or popularity. It has EVERYTHING to do with focusing on your passion and changing your priorities to support that passion.
Both Brian and I discovered the artist in ourselves over the last year. Not that we didn’t know they were there, it’s just we fully embraced that part of ourselves. He took some classes on stained glass and took to it like a fish in water. (You can check out his website or follow him on Twitter if you’re so inclined.)
And I finally threw myself into writing with the full attention necessary to get a book FINISHED. Now I’m in the process of getting published and, while the prospect both thrills & terrifies me, I finally realized that a chunk of my life is still not moving forward with the rest of me.
Brian and I live in a suburb, in quiet neighborhood in an industrial town. It’s no more or less bad than any other suburb of a big city. We have a tiny yard. And the house, while sufficient for our basic needs, is not what we need to keep pursuing our respective forms of art. Granted, as a writer, I could probably make a bash of it anywhere, but for Brian, not so much. We have a small work room in our basement which has nowhere near the capacity or functionality for him to work on his glass.
So when I read Kambriel’s blog post, I got a twinge in my heart that almost hurt. Brian and I are in the process of changing our perspective on what is necessary in our lives. It’s funny how things you thought you absolutely could not live without a year ago, suddenly seem like a burden or merely trivial.
As a writer, I realize, especially in today’s market and publishing environment, going off grid would not be conducive to being successful. But there are places in my life where that need to be less immersed in the chaos that is the world is becoming necessary.
When I talk about changing perspective and priorities, I mean that the idea of a 9-5 job to make ends meet is ceasing to be a viable prospect for me. While I understand the necessity of making ends meet is non-negotiable, I’m beginning to see that I’ve locked myself in the box of what ways that is achievable. I know I can’t support myself on my writing, and maybe never will. But there are other alternatives to a desk job that leeches energy and brain power from what I really want to be doing. I just need to throw some energy & focus into discovering them.
Brian is also a certified Master Gardner on top of his proficiency as a stained glass artist. Which just adds power to the thought that there are other ways to live.We have a number of skills that are not being taken full advantage of in our pursuit to live our lives.
My ideal life? What I saw in the pictures from Kambriel’s blog. A house in a rural setting, gardens to provide a big chunk of our food, space to walk, space to BREATHE and comfort of friends and pets to spend the days alongside us. Less chaos, more creativity.
This isn’t about wealth, because wealth is fleeting and capricious.Money is a necessary evil, granted, but it’s not the sole pursuit in life.
It isn’t about fame, because fame is a double edged sword and leads to less privacy rather than more. And Fame is just as capricious as wealth.
And it isn’t about popularity or laziness or lack of motivation.
It’s about planting a seed somewhere it can grow and not be stunted by lack of resources or attention. I understand that there are many who choose to make their art in spite of the chaos surrounding them, and I respect those who manage to succeed in that environment. But I’m not one of them. I’d rather find a way to lead a pastoral life, on our own terms and in a way that leads to our SUCCEEDING at our chosen path.
Life is far too short to spend it striving towards a tenuous goal in a bad environment. I’d rather make a hash of it surrounded by beauty, nature and self-sufficiency, than stuck in a place that is gray and uninspiring, only to regret the wasted time.
Envy has a way of motivating, and if you are creative enough, and willing to change your perspective, I think it can lead to a happier way of life. (Mind you, I didn’t say jealousy. That leads to a far different place. )
So maybe the path ahead of us will be more difficult, and maybe we’ll stumble along the way. Truth be told, it’s a crapshoot.
And I can’t wait to get started.