I was very excited when I sold some to be displayed in an Atlanta shop, and here and there I sold a few to friends and family. I vended fairs and festivals and gave many cards away as gift sets. I even had some listed in my etsy store (now closed.) For the the last year, however, they have mostly lived in a box in my closet.
This weekend, I changed that. I donated the lot of them to a friend who vends similar items at fairs and festivals. It was a real act of letting go, not only of the cards but of the dream that inspired their creation. I was able to release both because it was never really a clear goal for me...just a vague idea that creativity might be the path for me to take professionally. For the past few years, however, things regarding this dream had felt at a standstill, always on the verge of becoming, but never being, real.
One day, I realized why...I am already doing it. The job I currently have is directly related to creativity. Therefore, I am making a living via my creative talents.
I have realized a few other things as well...
...I'm not a salesperson.
...I have a deep personal conflict with creating for the sole purpose of selling what I create.
...I don't like to vend at fairs and festivals.
...I don't want to feel pressured to create to maintain a 'stock' for showing/selling.
...I don't want to be confined creatively to one medium.
All of these things are fine and good things if they suit one's personality and desires; they just don't suit mine. This of course would make it pretty difficult to support myself as a professional visual artist, a career that involves and can even depend on the above things.
And that's perfectly okay. It has taken me some time, but I know myself now, and I know what I am striving both towards and for.
Like most people, my entire life changed when I became a parent. No matter the goals and dreams I'd had before, when my son was born, there was one thing and one thing only that I wanted to do...
...be with my baby. I wanted to be a full-time, stay-at-home mother. However, that's not really possible when one is a single (solo) mother (or at least if it is, I could not find the way to do it!) My desire to combine finding a way to be at home full-time with my son with making a living from my creativity clouded the reality that I had already accomplished my long-time primary goal - to make a living through creativity. I failed to appreciate my professional successes and instead ran on empty, striving in the wee hours of the night towards vague, unrealistic goals that did not suit my situation.
Fast forward to almost ten years, and so much is different! Would I still like to be a full-time, stay-at-home mom? You bet! However, I accepted years ago that was not my path. Since then, I have learned to be clear and precise with goal setting to accomplish the things I want to achieve while balancing work with being the best mother I can be. I have also learned there is great authenticity in what I was most passionate about in my youth: writing and nature.
Becoming a mother only intensified my love of nature and the joy I found in writing. As my son grows (at what seems like the speed of light,) I learn more and more the importance of being fully present and focusing on the moment. I also understand the importance of acknowledging my current situation and how it relates to setting clear, realistic goals whose demands don't take away from the present or my most important role as a parent. When our goals are authentic and our pacing is appropriate for our situation, doors open. We see change, and growth, and opportunity. And we know we're on the right path.
As Mari of SaimaaLife writes in her series 365 Ways to Wellbeing, the 312th Way, "Remember to acknowledge the situation you’re in with your parenting. Think about how many children you have, what age your children are, what kind of personalities they are and what is the general situation where your family is living in each season. Acknowledge the differences and demands that they set for you as a parent. And AFTER THAT set realistic goals for your own work or for your free time plans!"
I am thrilled to have Mari's contribution in this set of posts, which I will continue soon in a part 2! Her blog has long inspired me and I am sure it will inspire my readers as well! So I will be back in a few days with more information on setting reasonable goals for personal and professional success, but a first step is finding clarity in what we truly want to accomplish, whether a goal is personal or professional. This can involve really looking closely at what drives us as persons, and what we are most passionate about.
Once we become parents, achieving both personal and professional goals can involve a little more balance and juggling but it is possible. And this is what this series of posts will be about!