One of my mantras lately has been, simply, to “check in” with myself more. Asking questions like, “What am I doing?” and “Why am I doing whatever I’m doing?” and “Do I want to be doing this?” Of course we all have things we have to do, often before we can do the things we want to do, but as far as the “want” list is concerned, I’m trying to tackle it as thoughtfully and intentionally as I can.
I’m striving to do things less for optics, less out of habit…stemming less from a pre-conceived idea of how I should be spending my time, or how I want to be able to say I spent my time. For example, maybe I actually love reading MORE than writing (or maybe writing’s just a lot harder – ha!)? Maybe I love consuming art more than creating it (see “harder” comment above). Maybe there’s always room for both (there is), and the extent of creation vs consumption will ebb and flow throughout my life and that’s OK? (Yes, and yes.)
Lately I’ve been honing in on, and just very aware of, my overall love and appreciation for the arts. Whether it’s the written/spoken word (reading, lectures, etc…), comedy, live theatre, film, or music…I just LOVE consuming art, appreciating art, witnessing art, creating art… It is such a privilege, while feeling so necessary, all at the same time.
I believe wholeheartedly that art is fundamentally important to humanity, and expression, and connection. Good art and storytelling fuels me like nothing else. I’m not sure if I’ll ever stop talking about that time I got to attend the CMA Awards in Nashville and see virtually everyone in country music perform in one night, or the episode “Memphis” of This is Us, or how smart and funny and relevant The Big Sick is, or John Mayer’s goosebump-inducing cover of “Free Fallin’.” And the list goes on…. I’m sure you have your own ever-changing list.
So I want more art in my life. I live in a FANTASTIC city for consuming, supporting and creating art. From Hugo House, to 5th Avenue Theatre, to SAL, our awesome independent bookstores, music venues, the list goes on… I’m increasingly aware of and grateful for my intelligent and artistic hometown the older I get. And to my credit – I think I generally do a pretty good job of filling my time with books, music, quality films and television that broaden my thinking, and live artistic events. But I want more! And I want to put more thought into what role I personally feel called to play in the artistic world.
Is it blogging more? Taking more writing classes? Pitching a collection of my personal essays as a book? Working for a local theatre in some capacity? Volunteering for Seattle Arts and Lectures? Seeing if I can dabble with writing for Seattle magazine again (I was a writing intern there years ago). Learning an instrument? These are just a few of the wide-ranging thoughts I’ve had about tapping into my own creativity more.
I haven’t worked outside of the home for almost 5 years, and I’m so grateful I’ve had the opportunity to be home with my kids in these early years. As utterly crazy as the SAHM life can be, I honestly wouldn’t change how I’ve spent my days these last 5 years.
But! I’m only 34! I’m realizing that I can still have totally new, brilliant chapters in my life! And so can YOU! Isn’t that exciting?? So while I’m not actively job-hunting and may hold the record for most dormant LinkedIn account ever, my wheels are turning…a little more each day. As my kids ease into more hours in school each year, I wonder how I might fill these new blocks of time. Will I volunteer more? Will I create? Will I work, even part-time, in a totally new kind of role? I don’t know exactly…but I’m actively thoughtful about checking in with myself until I find where I feel I’m supposed to land next.
What is your small still voice telling you when you take the time to check in? What new chapters lie ahead for you? To borrow the motto from one of my favorite stores, Paper Source, how are you striving to “do something creative every day?” I’d love to hear about it!
Cheers to a colorful and creative 2018…and to taking time to check in with ourselves and all that untapped potential. The pages are ours to fill.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” -Mary Oliver