However, I've decided right now that I'm never going to apologize for how long it's been since I last posted. First of all, there is a lot of living that has to happen before I can rattle off a decent dose of wordage -- to set myself a posting schedule is to set myself up for guilt and angst and yawn-worthy drama. Secondly, I imagine my reader(s) are also busy living and doing, and likely would respond to my apology with an arched eyebrow and a not-unkind, "Oh! Has it been a while?"
I'll tell you about some of my creative progress, but first: a mental detour.
Today I was talking to my mom about Plans and Choices I Have Made and Schemes Percolating In The Back Corners Of My Soul. (I don't say 'yesterday' because 2am is technically 'today') Mum is brilliant, and I often wish I could clone her and share her with mom-less friends of mine. She listens indefatigably. Once again I verbally round the track, wondering if I should have gone into accounting or nursing or underwater welding. You know, one of those careers that society always seems to need. I could be lighting a blowtorch right now, or toiling home from the hospital with a real paycheck, instead of crossing my fingers that the local tourist trade will thrive this year and gearing up for my new part-time job at the local grocery store. "I could be a CPA," I say. She gives me the Look. "Of course," I add, "that would mean doing math and dealing with other peoples' money... and I dread both those things..." She gives me the Nod.
I've chosen this track because this is the one that lets me keep my pins and my thread and my sanity, or so I tell myself. These are the things I would miss Too Much. Serious careers don't really come in part-time sizes, and yet my artistic career is in its infancy and hasn't yet grown up to into a full-time gig, so I must blend it with whatever flexible work I can find. Does it matter so much what the work is, so long as I get to keep pursuing what I love? Under my mum's watchful smile I remind myself of this, and I'm most of the way to feeling better. But still...
Perhaps the reason I come back to worry over this question so often relates to that line in You've Got Mail: "I lead a small life. Well, valuable, but small. And sometimes I wonder: do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave?"
I've officially decided I'm moving out on my own this coming spring. Part of my hard work this summer is to build up some financial buffer room before I go. This is probably the boldest goal I've ever set myself, and it's scaring the crap out of me -- a fact which has a lot to do with why I'm going.
I like to be home, surrounded by the safe and the familiar. I gravitate to this spot, the same way I roll back into the me-sized divot in my futon mattress. I want to know that I'm not letting the cozy-homebody part of me make every decision in my life. That way, I'm fairly certain, lies stagnation.
My friend La posted this recently and I told her I intended to steal it:
"Sometimes you're 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and listening to music that for some reason is really getting to your heart. You're just standing there thinking about going to work and picking up your dry cleaning. And also more exciting things like books you're reading and trips you plan on taking and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. And suddenly you just don't feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home [...] and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you'll never be this young again but this is the first time you've ever been this old. When you can't remember how you got from sixteen to here and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. The song is over. The coffee's done. You're going to breathe in and out. You're going to be fine in about five minutes." - Kalyn Livernois
That's me on the cusp here, contentment warring with antsy discomfort. I'm a second-guessing champ.
So I say it all out loud one more time, and I weigh each part in my hands like a series of fidgety kittens. My Mum reminds me of all the things I have recognized as my gifts -- the things I've decided I don't want to do without. There are many ways to live a life, she says, and she jokes ruefully that it's her own fault for telling her children to think outside the box. One by one, we're all taking up residence there.
Here is what I know: I am richly blessed. I get to do what I love and make money doing it. I'm blessed with a new job that comes with some stable income and a green apron. I'm blessed with a rough idea of how to spend the next nine months. Next spring I'm off to the city, to stretch myself out and see what God makes of me. It's not just me pushing myself out the door, it's Him pulling, and that's an encouraging thought.
I sift my thoughts one more time, I tack down my decisions more firmly, I kiss my mum good-night (or good-morning), and I write my blog post.
It's five minutes later, and wouldn't you know it? I'm fine.