What have I been up to? I ask myself that every day right now. What am I going to do with my life? I don’t just ask the big question, What Am I Going to Do with my Life, but every day, I ask myself what I am going to do with my hours. I am going through a career change, and at the same time, I am a busy stay at home mom.
A few weeks ago we went to the Valley of Fire with some friends. My kids have been watching Avatar, the Last Airbender, and it mentions meditating. So my youngest two stopped and sat down, yogi style, with their hands together. I asked the five year old what he was doing. “I’m hesitating,” he said.
I feel like his answer summed up my current life. I’m hesitating. I just had to leave a workplace I loved for the sake of my health. This left me feeling like a giant failure. Now I would like to find something with a lower stress level that still challenges me, and the pain of losing a job I loved makes me hesitate before jumping into something new.
I have started talking to myself about finding “meaningful work outside of the home.” But when I listen to myself talk that way, I start to wonder, Can I make my work at home more meaningful, and quit cracking a whip on myself so hard to succeed elsewhere? I honestly don’t know that I can. Since I was a little girl and heard my kindergarten teacher say that it was possible for the first female president of the United States to be elected in my lifetime, my ambition has been kindled to do something great.
Do I have it in me to re-define what I think is great? Isn’t it great to have healthy relationships with my spouse and children? Can that be great enough? Can I find a low stress work environment that provides me with an outlet from the exhaustion of full time caregiving, but that doesn’t leave me having a hard time managing my RA? If I ask myself one more question, will I go mad?
In the meantime, I’m taking a portraiture class. Art is another form of hesitation. I stop my busy week for five hours every Thursday to learn from a master portrait painter. I have a lot of positive self talk, there. I’m new at this. I have a lot to learn, and growth is a good thing. If it were easy, everyone would do it.
Below is my first attempt at a color pastel portrait. I’m working on my second right now, but I accidentally chose the wrong paper color, so I’m a little worried it’s doomed. Still, I’m new at this. I have a lot to learn. Growth is a good thing.
One thing I like about art is that, like quilting, when you are done investing your time and effort, you have something to show for it. However, the product is not my favorite thing. The product brings up my worries and inadequacies. My favorite thing about art is how, in an effort to focus on the subject at hand, all of my other worries sort of melt away. Trying to make art is a form of mindfulness, and in a way, a meditation.