Okay, I’m gonna warn you… this is gonna be a long, mushy introspective post. It’s just a phase, nothing to be concerned about. A few cups of tea and a long nap and I’ll be back to normal tomorrow. But until then…
…I’ve been thinking. Had several conversations with people in completely different spheres of my life that somehow all collided on the topic of following dreams. As in, the “what I wanna be when I grow up” variety. It’s given me much food for thought.
First was my dad. During a casual conversation he mentioned that he’s always wanted to be a baseball game announcer. You know, so he could use that “cool” voice, like he did when we were kids. Now he’s mentioned this before, but I always thought this was one of those dreams like, well… like my little kid dream to be an astronaut. Like uh… yeah, that’d be cool. But it ain’t gonna happen. And (now that I’m not in grade school) I’m at peace with that.
But the truth is, he really does want this. He’s wanted it for years. He doesn’t even care if it’s big time or Little League, he just wants the experience. But he’s never even tried to make it a reality. And get this — he coaches Challenger Baseball for handicap kids..! I can’t think of a more positive atmosphere than the “everyone gets to hit the ball, everyone gets on first base, and everyone goes out for ice cream afterward” playbook of CB. I’m sure they’d let him if he asked. But he never has. So on the one hand, I have a crazy idea for his birthday next summer : ) On the other, I can’t stop thinking about how important it is to recognize the opportunities around you, and not be afraid to take advantage of them.
Second was an artist on a business forum commenting that she would love to make a living selling her work, but wondered if it was really possible? The comment she got in return: “Possible, yes. Probable, no. But keep the dream.” It made me wince inside. Now, I’m a total pragmatist. (After learning the hard truth about that astronaut thing.) But I don’t think that a spoonful of reality should turn a good cup of dreams sour. There are lots of artists making a living at what they do. In fact, (*dawning moment here*) I am one of them.
For the past seven years, I’ve been earning my Big Paycheck teaching art, and my little paycheck making it. I adore teaching, and I marvel at the whole concept of getting paid to talk about what I know and love. But with budgets growing tight, and seniority working against me, I also recognize that it’s going to come to an end. I’ve been through the phases — frustration, helplessness, frantic searching… in addition to the slow, painful process of having to go through the entire year pretending all is well, knowing that the Bad Thing will happen at the End.
It’s not even losing the job that bugs me. Honestly?? It’s that I promised myself that the next step on my Personal Success Ladder would be to go full time with my art. So here I am being called onto the carpet because I asked for something, and now I’m getting it.Â (Anyone else humming “be careful what you wish for”?) And deep down, I still really want it. But I’m terrified. Of what?? Of making a living as an artist.
But… that’s just what I’ve been doing all along.
So why am I afraid of it?? I don’t know. Afraid I won’t be able to pay the bills? I’m saving up as we speak.Â I’ve got 8 months to finish knitting my safety net.Â Unless I really flop, I’ll be okay. Afraid I won’t get any orders? Right now I’m swamped — and in my experience, work has a tendency to fill the void. I think I’m just afraid of change. But… if this is what I’ve been doing, there isn’t really any change, is there?
I’m simply on a journey to where I’ve been all along.