A lot is happening these days. Five months ago I started a new job, my paintings are getting better, I will be purchasing the house next door for teaching art, my work has been selling and I am moving in the direction of making merchandise out of my botanical work.
People who have known me a long time know that I can be a very productive person. But I feel recently foundational change has been happening with each new decision. How has this situation come about?
I have a daughter who is attending college in a foreign country. Before she left I always had a track in my brain reserved for her. Whether she was around my house, at her mother's house or somewhere else, there was a part of my brain that constantly cared for her, wondered what she was doing, worried that I might need to act at a moments notice. I still think about her all the time, but that worry track in my brain has been freed up giving me more creative space up in my noggin'. My new job also is much less stressful than my last. I no longer am trying to run five different programs with forty community partners. I now am setting up one program focused on one thing: public art. This has also loosened up creative space in my brain.
Financially, last summer I was able to unload a house that I had inherited in a divorce. Although there was good reason to keep the house all these years since I inherited it, it was a financial drain. But it was time, and because I sold it, I now am able to purchase the house next to me and expand what I really like to do.
I have always been someone who has not focused on himself. I have been happy over the years to be a bit of a caretaker. I have a lot of abilities and have been happy to share and help where I can. But I would also use this as an excuse to not focus on myself. Somewhere in my travels I came to realize that not focusing on myself led me down a road that did not make me happy. Now, of course, I am not going to go super-gonzo on myself and exclude helping others, but I have learned that true happiness cannot happen if you are not fostering yourself -- if you are not creating opportunities to grow into yourself. I have been acting on this new understanding... and seeing a difference.
I do not take all this for granted. I have been around long enough to know that anything can end at a moments notice. I am happy to move forward into my most full self while knowing that one of the fun things about this is that I get to bring my friends, family, students and art fans with me.