Monday, April 11, 2016

For When You've Lost Your Way

Last week I wrote about the need to set down a dream (or three) in order to pursue another. I talked about the way it's scary and hard, but necessary and preservative. And I haven't stopped thinking about how many ways I needed those words.

I needed those words because I've been fighting the feeling of drowning. Like I've taken on too many personal costs and not had a steady enough inspirational income for them. Like I'm trying to make it all work, but instead am working away my soul's joy.

And, in the quick sinking sand of creative priority, I realized that my reality and my dreams are different than I thought. Six months ago, I'd have written down a list that wouldn't begin to motivate me today. And I'm sure what I'd name as my future now won't be a future interest in a year. I'm fickle like that. Or, I'm learning how to be really honest.

Instead of spending all my days vision casting and dream naming, I've been dedicating myself to reflecting on what's here and what's now. I want to point out what needs change and hold tight to what works well. So far, I've come up with this:
  • When I started at my job five years ago, I thought I was just doing a month's worth of filling in for a woman on a short medical leave. Here I am, five years later, in love with the people I work for and with. It's my bread-and-butter and I wouldn't want to leave them. 
  • When I started Amber Thomas Makes, I was sure I'd love to work for myself, to spend my days painting and exploring all the colorful options. Now, nearly a year later, I know it's my after-work joy that brings in some extra cash and that's all I want it to be. 
  • When I participated in #NaNoWriMo a year and a half ago I was sure I'd be taking that book to publishing by now. Now, eighteen months later, I'm happy to be looking over it and flirting with different ways to approach the same message. This type of work can be slow and long and still lovely. 
  • When I began posting on this blog in December of 2011, I thought it'd be a fun creative outlet. I've tried monetizing and decided against it. I've considered turning it into a business, but can't get comfortable in the crossover, so quit. This is my small corner of community online and that's legit. 
The greatest lesson I've learned in the last year: you have to check in on yourself. Check in on your process, on your supplies and your cost. Check in on your available time and space. Check in on your enjoyment, your hope, and your dreams. Because they change constantly and there isn't an app to track all of these things.

Sometimes you need to make space to educate yourself and decide on what's true for you. Sometimes you'll be overjoyed with the truth that you're where you want to be with the people you love. And sometimes you'll be like me, holding on to a dream you can't really justify.

If you're in the confused camp with me, please know there's ways to determine a new direction. There's all kinds of courses and books to guide you, but mostly, you need simple to be honest. Be really honest about what you love and what you hate. Then do more of the first and less of the latter. I know, it sounds too simple and impossible. But simple is better friend. Simple is better.

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