“The tide goes out
So it can come back another time.”
~ Jewel – What You Are
I have to admit, this Polar Vortex has thrown me for a loop. It’s been really hard to motivate myself when I hear snowblowers and snow shovels going at 7 am in March, there is yet another flurry blowing around the window, and the temperatures are prohibitive from going out.
Last year felt much more active at this time, and I feel guilty for not selling, for not producing, for giving into this sluggishness that a bear would call hibernation.
At the same time, the gathering of my receipts from last year indicates how much learning there was, how my artistic focus shifted, how many things I reacted to that I didn’t even see coming in January 2013.
So in a way I am also recovering from a lot of energetic momentum that had me pushing out of my comfort zone into places I thought I would never go. I wasn’t going to do outdoor shows and I did. I didn’t imagine that introverted me would be a co-founder and co-organizer of a women’s networking group that grew to 150 members within one year. I certainly didn’t see myself as a jewelry designer a year ago.
While in its own vacuum each of my accomplishments last year is something to be proud of, none of them pay the bills. So there is this dichotomy of needing an influx of funds as validation, while also wanting to invest what I saved up for many years to see if I can make this a full-time viable gig.
Startups take time to develop, and a lot of financial and personal investment to keep going, as well as a wide range of trade-offs. Not seeing a payoff in this world that glorifies ‘overnight success’ and billionaire payouts while pretending those people didn’t slave away 5 to 7 years before making it big creates much internal conflict.
The barrage of social media messages doesn’t help. I take in everyone’s priorities as a to-do I have to add to my list. So if one friend posts their latest studio shot of a work-in-progress, another mentions laundry day and a third invites me to a gallery opening, I feel I have to do all three of those things in addition to my never-diminishing to-do list that very day. What kind of a sloth am I to not wake up eager to seize the day and make the most out of each moment, especially with the luxury of having all of this time to myself without kids or a partner or a pet begging for my attention?
“I feel something so right
Doing the wrong thing
I feel something so wrong
Doing the right thing.”
~ OneRepublic – Counting Stars
I do live a charmed life. I am fortunate to have resources to pursue this dream. There is this possibility of taking my business beyond last year and moving forward. There is the fall-back of temping or freelancing if I need to. I have an abundance of opportunity and alternatives. All require focus and hustling and determination. All take energy. Each is a decision.
The key is to not compare. To not take my Facebook or Pinterest feed as peer pressure. To evaluate my options based on my needs, my abilities and my energy level regardless of what others might think they would do if they were in my shoes. They are not me, and I am not them.
I would do things differently if my situation were different. As I grow older the what ifs do grow louder. But what might have happened isn’t what is happening. So I have to take today as it comes. My body tells me what it needs. My soul informs the path I take. My brain gives me the realism to pursue the most appropriate course of action. My heart fluctuates between anxiety over the unknown and exhilaration over the vision that could be reality if I keep going.
The truth is that life isn’t easy. No matter what choice we make, we will doubt, we will toil, we will ponder the alternatives, and we will wish for smoother sailing. The key is to honor the choices we make and to fully stand behind them. There is no one to blame, and there is nothing to lose. It is all part of the experience that forms our character and brings us into the person we are meant to be.
I am meant to be me in my sluggish moments as well as in my sparks of brilliance. They don’t cancel each other out. In fact, the valleys make us more appreciative of the peaks. Every day counts, even the non-productive ones.
“The only way you can know
Is give it all you have.”
~ OneRepublic – I Lived