(Better) Realized: Flexing my creative muscle.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The other day I wrote at length about the disappointment I've been experiencing over my current job. This small leg of a long journey is tough. However, don't mistake this lamenting as a lack of gratitude. My life is good and opportunities have been presented in ways I never thought possible. Although discouraging at the moment, phases like this are the perfect occasion in which to reflect. To change faulty thinking and dig a little deeper to find the root of malcontent. My job is probably going to be difficult for the duration and I can't make my coworkers play nice. But my reaction to adversity? That is squarely within my control. Choosing peace over anger, gratitude over self pity—that I can do. It will take practice, as all behavioral changes do, but I don't want to fritter away the hours feeling sorry for myself. Resentment is a waste of time.

I realize these sorts of posts come more often than even I would like, but I know I'm not alone in my frustration, disappointment, and anxiety. Most of all, my impatience. I want things to hurry up already rather than just going with the flow. I work diligently each and every day to exist in the now, to enjoy today, rather than holding on to an abstract time in the future when everything will be in its perfect place; the ideal life I envision. The me five or ten years from now. As I age and mature emotionally, I realize how silly this is. Because there is no perfect life or perfect place in time. And if there were, I wouldn't know it until I was actually in it, nor would I properly appreciate it without having experienced hardship. Like most things in life, I can't predict when and where the tides will take me. But I've learned that there can be perfect (or near perfect) experiences to be had if you take the time to seek them out.

I've been doing some thinking about this whole job thing, and I've come to a conclusion: After a decade spent being a mom and student, my expectations were unreasonably high. I was excited about earning a paycheck, gaining clinical hours for grad school, learning how to care for critically ill patients, and meeting new people. I suppose I went into it with my head in the clouds; I hadn't anticipated adversity and it knocked me on my ass. Small issues became big ones and big ones became insurmountable. And although disappointment is always a hard pill to swallow, much of my melancholy likely stemmed from a lack of external outlet. All I could think about was the bad because I had little else to focus on.

Outside of work I wasn't doing anything to expand my horizons or set new goals or flex my creative mind. I'd stuff my feelings and frustrations all day and come home and focus on the boys and chores and travel schedules and meal planning and, you know, The Grind. With the exception of my reading goals, I inadvertently set aside all the other intentions I'd made for the year when I went back to work in July.

Several weeks ago Mario and I went out on a breakfast date, just the two of us. While waiting for a table, I began jotting down a revised list of life goals. This impromptu (re)evaluation of my aspirations wiggled something loose inside of me, and I realized it was high time I started worrying about creative fulfillment as much as I was concerning myself with my chosen career path. On my deathbed I'm certainly not going to wish I had worked more. So instead of spending my days off drowning my sorrows in Cheetos and my DVR, I set out to explore some new and old interests.

Last month I took kokedama workshop at my favorite local nursery and had so much fun. I bought the supplies to make a second one at home and my living room window has never looked better. (I'm also practicing my plant husbandry skills, always, while honing my desired foliage collection.)

For my annual Christmas ornament project, I've decided to learn embroidery and bought the supplies to create some simple hand-sewn hoops to gift friends and family. (I bought some patterns and thread made by Sublime Stitching at a local craft store and found a couple pdf embroidery patterns on Etsy like this one.)

While picking up muslin for my ornaments yesterday, I learned about some sewing classes offered at an amazing fabric store. Up until yesterday I'd never stopped in because I sold my sewing machine when we moved and had therefore subconsciously dismissed the idea of (finally) learning how to sew. (They teach beginner classes and have all the supplies I would need to complete the project—including a sewing machine—so all the excuses I'd been making were completely off base.)

Mario gifted me a terrarium book for my birthday and I love the idea of creating a miniature world using tiny figures and low maintenance moss. My windowsills are a little, um, crowded at the moment, so the idea of something green I can perch on a (low light) bookshelf is so lovely. (And it's an activity Kiddo and I can do together.)

My favorite Portland instagrammer, Heather, opened up a brand new shop last week. In addition to selling products made by local artisans, work/shop offers a variety of classes. (work/shop...get it?) The brush lettering workshop is at the top of my list, but I want to take them all!

 Oh, and pottery classes are always on the list!

Also: regular dates with Husband for the first time in our marriage; trying all kinds of new skincare products as the seasons change; signing up for classes offered by the hospital so I can pick up new skills; starting my last classic book for the year (which marks another milestone as the very first resolution I've ever made and kept all year); cooking all kinds of new and old favorites (soup weather!); and making lists to prepare for a local (as much as possible) Christmas. Portland has a great program called Little Boxes, which makes participating in Small Business Saturday even more fun.

The point: Learning isn't confined to academics. And just as I am more than the roles I play (wife, mom, employee, student), my creative interests are vast, varied and equally important. When times get tough, they are usually the first to get neglected. You live and you learn.

source: random olive


  1. That workshop you took sounds pretty darn amazing!

  2. I like your attitude. Chin up and carry on. :)

  3. Oh......how you make me smile. It's like looking thru the looking glass -- set on rewind! I see the younger me in you and your thoughts and your desires so much. And being able to read your words and in essence, feel your heart somehow, someway, soothes me. You have so much drive and even if you feel like your direction is all cattywonkered (word??) right now, it is THAT drive that will take you where you want to be. Promise!

    1. You always help me to realize I am not alone in my feelings... I appreciate that so much. You are wise, kind, and a great blog friend. :)


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