For a while...not sure how long exactly but I'm thinking about 10 years or so, I have struggled with balance in my life. Women seem to have a much harder time than men because we want to be everything to everyone. At almost 51, it finally hit me that we cannot be anything to anyone if we are not true to ourselves first.
I haven't written a post like this in a while so get yourself a cup of something if you plan to ride this one out...Maybe this should just be for my personal journal, but then again, maybe there is someone else out there that is feeling the same way....
Since discovering the internet around 12 years ago, I have been on information overload. The entire world was opened up to someone that has lived in the same place forever.
I had a successful art business, was very happy building a home and family and was at a point where we were seeing for the first time some financial prosperity. Life was perfect!
I believed that with the world now at my fingertips all would be even better...but what happened was that I began to do what I saw my middle schooler doing but was completely blindsided until just recently. I used to tell her that maybe she was unhappy with things because she was comparing herself to too many friends at once. It's hard enough when we compare ourselves to one great individual but when we are one compared to a group it's overwhelming not only for a child but to anyone of us.
With the internet, now we can see we are just one of many that designs, makes, writes, bakes...you name it, anything. We are just a drop in the bucket and whatever it is we do, someone else has probably already done it. First there were websites, ebay and blogs, and now there are as many social networks as there are people to join them. It's never ending!
Then we have the marketing gurus that tell us we must do all of these things or we are sure to fail. We must!
So for the last decade or so, I have spent countless hours online creating websites, blogs, selling on ebay and etsy, starting facebook pages reading every how to be successful books I heard about...and somehow managed to spend time with my children going to ball games and horseshows, open and close a gallery, teach art classes and have summer art camps for kids, travel to exhibit my floorcloths in shows, move my business back home, homeschool our son, and now have opened an entirely new business...so I've started this new blog and more social network accounts....insert a breath... and then just a few weeks ago it hit me that things...my life...was totally and completely not mine anymore and I got really angry. Really, really angry.
I spent an entire morning on my porch thinking....what do I want to do? What was I doing the last time I was truly happy with myself?...it was way back before the time of the world wide web...when I was blissfully ignorant actually.
I applied to shows not knowing that people sent in applications and prayed for years to be included...and I got in. I sent in amateurish slides to national magazines and was published. I once sent a hand drawn and written brochure printed on pink paper (what the heck?) to a fellow interior designer and the next thing I knew I was asked to design a line of floorcloths for an accessory program with a major furniture manufacturer. We exhibited them for two years and my sales were crazy good all over the country. I didn't know the proper way to do anything, but people were most receptive to my ideas and I honestly think I got their attention because I kept things simple.
Simple is not all bad...simpletons, however are a whole different subject that we will not discuss today ( don't you love how my mind rambles?) ...but a simple lifestyle is what I want to get back to and away from so MUCH information.
I will say, I have met some wonderful people through social networks and blogs and some great business contacts as well. It definitely has a purpose...but, we can get caught up in comparisons, just like a middle schooler and then we ( I ) try to do it like this artist and that person and then there is this business that has this workshop and that dealer that is also renting two booths at the big antique malls and so on and so on....until we are spinning so fast we are not doing anything but marketing, keeping up with the business Joneses, and collecting "friends", "fans", or "followers" online. One day we wake up and wonder what happened to our real friends and when was the last time we enjoyed working in the studio...or worked IN the studio period?
Are you on your second cup yet? If you are reading this at night you'd better skip the wine in case it makes you sleepy...I have a few more thoughts....
So, back to the angry part...I was really angry. Normally, I'm a very good actor and play "pleasant" as best I can, but I did share this with my friend Cheryl...Hey Cheryl...but, at that point I wasn't exactly sure why...several things were taking place in my life that could be affecting me...and they all were stemming from my lack of authenticity.
But, now it's resolved because I figured out that I was angry with myself. I am learning to be ME again...and it's really not that hard. There have been days I didn't even turn on my computer and I didn't realize it. I do have thoughts that I'm not being a responsible business person by not posting my every thought or great junk find or new art piece or what ever...but, dang it, what did people do before they conveniently went online to see...they visited or called. Anyone remember Sunday afternoon visits? My grandparents stayed dressed in their Sunday best and visited or entertained visitors every Sunday afternoon. Who does that anymore?
I am not checking out of the blog or my facebook pages, but just limiting my posts to the important stuff. I know if you are interested you will check to see if I've been online lately despite what the gurus say about having a schedule and what percentage needs to be personal and what needs to be about your work... I know this because, I have my list that I check out because I want to see what they have been up to. I don't forget the people I'm truly interested in. I hope you won't forget me.
We are almost through here...
So, as far as simplifying my life goes...For today, I am making a point of remembering that Sunday is a day of rest...and like God, we artists, or really all of us, are creators too...
Genesis 2: 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Thank you for taking your time to read this. I hope, if you've been feeling overwhelmed in your work or your life that you can take some time too to think about what you need to do to make it yours again.
Below are a few pictures from my herb garden....I honestly intended to only post photos today...funny how things change.
Enjoy your day of rest