Sometimes it’s too much, too much data coming in and your hard drive feels corrupted. Maybe you need new software. Maybe you need to do a hard reset. Maybe you need to just try turning off and turning back on again.
My friend Angela and I have had a lot of conversations about what it is like to be a creative person. Not just creating, but not being able to shut off that part of yourself, even if you’re not doing the work. Day jobs pay the bill and even if the day job is enjoyable, and maybe even tangental, to your creative pursuits, it isn’t the thing. There is a similar problem with day(s) off, not being able to adequately quiet all the noise so that they feel useful or restful. When you’re trying to do too much, those days off turn into days where you try to fit everything and everything, even if it qualifies as fun or relaxing pursuits, the feeling that they all need to happen now dilutes the positive aspects of the doing.
This is a roundabout way of saying that I took (and am taking) some days off from the day job during January and during that time I want to (in addition to trying to relax a bit) work on some of my personal creative projects. But again, there is much muchness. I was hoping that Thursday, my first day off, would involve sleeping until I woke up and then starting to slowly map out how the rest of my days might look. Maybe over a coffee. But I live in Minnesota and in January is sometimes snows, and sometimes your lot is plowed at 8:30 in the morning and you have to move your car. Plus side? I got to try out breakfast at Colossal Cafe on Como (it was quite good). I remained exhausted and my attempts at napping were mediocre as things kept interfering, so I stayed tired all day and my brain stayed foggy and Thursday was generally a wash. (Though I did do a little sketching in the evening and watched some Netflix).
Today, I needed to get an oil change. I followed that up with a dinner showing of Hidden Figures and a coffee at B&N. My current state is somewhere between anxiety and antsy, so I’m just sticking with unsettled as a definition. The relaxation efforts aren’t quiet there and I’m only very slowly approaching my concept for one of my art pieces.
Things that I hope to accomplish in January:
- 2 paintings (one intended as a Spectrum Fantastic Arts entry and one intended for a Blick Arts community art show)
- 1 coloring page (part of the season commission)
- Begin revisions on novel project
This is a reoccurring problem for me when it comes to vacations. The time it takes for me to transition from regular world/ day job mindset to relaxed/ rested/ ready to accomplish personal things mindset is usually most of the time I have away from the office. I’m just about there and then suddenly I’m back in the mix again. Personal problem, I’m trying to learn how to hack myself to get rid of that long lag time. But in the meantime, I’m left trying to cover too much ground.
Finding a way to quiet the mind and reset is also difficult when you don’t feel like your personal life is at peace, and mine hasn’t felt that way for quite some time. Attempting to reconcile the things that fell apart in my life is a slow process. Some of the things will probably never disappear completely, so it’s a matter of trying to figure out how to make them not seem constantly present. And it’s a work in progress, like everything else in my life. When something was good, it’s hard to let it go, even if it stopped being good (of just stopped). It’s also hard to accept new good things into your life. But I try to remain open, to new experiences and new people. And sometimes something or someone appears unexpectedly, maybe while running errands. There is a smile, a compliment, a touch on the arm … and that leads to drinks. And you say yes, because you just don’t know and you don’t want to miss out on something new that is good.
So, I’m attempting a reboot this month. I’m trying to hack myself so that I can spend 2017 productive on personal creative projects and be a rested, better version of myself. I’m trying to move forward, even as everything seems to want to push backwards. I’m trying to do right by me. I’m trying.
More later …