Since I came back from working (& resigning from the company I’ve been with for 21 years…) in France a month ago, things have not been quite right and I’ve been in a personal slump. I’ve managed to get back into my crafting and painting, but it doesn’t fulfil me as much as it did, before I took that month long working break in France. Being me, I’ve been doing some soul searching into what the problem might be, and here are my thoughts… that is if I can manage to straighten them out as they fall out of my muddled head.
I mentioned in one of my blog posts, that I couldn’t help but compare the work I use to do in my company, which was so easy for the large salary I got, compared to the endless hours I put into my crafting and painting, resulting with zilch money in the end. I spent max 2h on my crafting/painting and the rest of the 6h editing, making videos, posting on social media, and called what I was doing “work”. I said that this was part of my marketing strategy, to build my customer base…except I didn’t even have a shop on my blog, I didn’t mention anywhere that my products were for sale, and I didn’t renew my listings in my Etsy store. So I know why I got zilch in the end after so much work, cause I wasn’t really interested in selling! So why do I try to justify what I do by calling it “work”?
After working again after a break of 5 long years, I came back and knew I was fooling myself by saying what I was spending all my time on was actually “work”. Work is something you do with a financial goal at the end. (Or something you don’t like doing, like cleaning the house…) And since deep down I’m not really interested in making money out of what I do at the moment, that realisation just emptied all the passion for what I was doing and I’m left feeling like a deflated balloon.
So why is that? Why do I have to tie myself to a financial goal to feel what I do is worth something? Especially now that painting, self expression and personal fulfilment is so “trending. Its now ok to take time for yourself. In fact, if you’re not meditating, doing yoga or doing something creative, you’re not “with it” and oh so old school! 😉 So why do I not rejoice that not only am I doing what I love 100% of my time (well, ok 70% as i still have to clean my house…), but I’m also “trendy” at the moment 😉 I guess because you’re supposed to do all that once you’ve earned your right to live on this earth. Give everything up to do it full-time and you better be good at it and build a dynasty around it, if not, its just wasting time. At 53, I’m not close to the age of retirement (altho in Singapore, I will be in 2 years…) and my teenage kids are not young enough to even justify being a stay at home mum.
A very close friend said to me “taking care of myself and doing what I love to do everyday, just for myself, is so pointless” and she personally couldn’t do it. Another friend remarked that my husband might respect me more if I earned some money. (Luckily my hubby does not tie my self worth to a financial number… and has always treated me the same way whether I worked or not). Another friend who has followed my venture into painting, said in a very dubious voice “So you’re an artist now?”, when I came out of the closet & started to say I paint, when people ask what I do. And those that don’t know me, ask me where I exhibit, because obviously if you say you paint, you should have something to show for it.
Its obviously not what others say that make me feel this way. Its in my very nature, my core values, that push me to be “productive”. Its why we tell our kids to study hard so they can get a job doing what they want to do. Its an improvement, yes, from when we used to tell them to get a good job, whether they liked it or not, but we’re not telling them to go out into the world and just do what makes them happy, whether they earn anything or not. It would be such a waste wouldn’t it? If they spent they’re lives just being happy, without being productive; aka earning something.
So that’s where I am, thinking I’m wasting my life if I just want to paint for me. Cause where’s the goal in that? And we need to have goals in life. So is “I want to be a good painter”, “Why?” “Because I want to be good at what I love doing” enough of a goal? And what does a “good” painter mean anyway? Good for whom? Most of the great painters were never appreciated when they were alive. So, was it good for them that their paintings are now considered masterpieces. That they never knew all their blood sweat and drunken tears were worth it in the end?
Do we live our lives for others or for ourselves. Obviously the answer is so easy, yet so hard to live by. And for once, by the end of my (long) post, I didn’t have a “eureka” moment. Because I already know how I should live my life, I just have to be brave and do it…and be happy doing it…or wait till this menopause moment to pass and the dark clouds will be lifted…
is figuring her life out