Posts Tagged ‘calling’

Pursuing Passion

I am in a strange place of wondering. Or is that wandering? I work at a job for a corporation and the job not only pays the bills but it provides me with health insurance (albeit high deductible insurance, which, at my age, is expensive)(face it: my medications for one month are costly and my dental needs have always been <ahem> expensive. And I wear trifocals). The job does not fulfill my need for passion and intellectual growth; it is ‘just a job’. I feel no deep, lingering, sense of loyalty to a corporation that doesn’t even know I exist.

My children have not only grown and flown the nest, but they have taken my grandchildren with them (darn those parental units!). I have no one to homeschool anymore except Harvey and Murphy, and neither one of them is interested in listening to me read “Old Yeller” or “Where the Red Fern Grows” out loud.

My studio is currently littered with the detritus of art supplies, school supplies, and desk necessities: how many sets of oil pastels can one person accidentally acquire? Erasers? Tubes of oil paints? Watercolours in various forms? Clay? How often do I actually sit down and sketch something?

I have a little sketch journal I carry in my car. It has two or three sketches from camping trips over the years and it is only half full. Unfinished paintings and drawings litter the boxes and drawers. I have stacks of unused canvas board, watercolour or ink pads, and an interesting collection of India ink bottles.

Hidden in my desk are reams of college-lined loose leaf notebook paper, spiral notebooks, and pretty stationery I purchased when stationery stores were still commonplace.

Summer is not a good time to be in the studio. It is in the loft of our home and heat rises. There are two fans at either end of the loft and on a “normal” summer, they suffice to keep the house cool on the three or four days in a row of hot weather that we get. This summer had been unusually dry and warm, and the loft has been stuffy. But I don’t play with all these things in the winter, either, so blaming my catharsis on heat is merely an excuse. Still, I am paralyzed.

I have a novel I am working on. I get in about a thousand words a night when I actually sit down and work at it. It is easier now with MS Word as the typing paper doesn’t stack up and get mixed up, and I can delete paragraphs with the touch of a key. The story is stalled on a crucial plot pivot. I’ve rewritten it several times in the past two months.

The fact of the matter is that I rise early and leave the house before 7AM. I drive to work, listening to the road report and 80’s music. I work eight hours with a one-hour lunch break. That lunch break is taken in my car, hiding from my coworkers and the public in general, working on a crossword and trying to commune with God or taking a nap. My drive home takes 45 minutes to an hour and a half, and by the time I walk in the front door, my brain is dead. All creativity has been sucked out of me. I only want to hide in a darkened room with no sound for an hour. I’m dead to the interesting objects around me.

What is the answer? I need to find my passion. I need to rekindle the fire that burned in me when I was young and had the whole world to burn. My mind imagines the paintings, but when I pick up the brushes to paint – I think about the clean up!! My mind imagines the plot twists, but when I sit down to type – the past day floats before my eyes.

I took a couple online tests: “find your passion”. They all came up the same. I want to learn, first and foremost. I want to create, second. I prefer to work alone, third.

I have a coworker who is constantly annoyed at the things I “know”. Somehow, acquiring knowledge is not her passion and she resents me for my interests and my passion for facts. I don’t mind people correcting me when I am wrong about something, but I really get annoyed when people who do not know anything themselves seek to mock me for at least trying to understand and know things. Can I slap her now? Correct me because you know more and I’m fine. I’ll go back and research the subject, acquiesce if necessary. But mock me because I know something you don’t? How grade school.

I need to write. Writing comes to the top of nearly every quiz or test taken. Art (which I had once considered my primary passion) is down a notch. Gardening and the natural world is tucked in between writing and art: I am a Naturalist at heart.

How can I be a Naturalist when most of my hours are spent in a concrete prison? My car is parked in a parking lot with almost no landscaping, only feet from the MAX lines and US Hwy 26 West. I listen to lightrail and freeway sounds during my lunch hour. I hate that parking lot. I despise the cubicle culture and the “modern” art on the walls of the office (really? couldn’t they have at least selected actual original artwork instead of mass-produced canvas imitations for which the artists received squat?). I resent that I have to petition my office in order to hang my framed Monet print or my framed Edward Robert Hughes print. At least my selections have signatures that mean something: who the hell remembers who squirted paint onto the canvas to resemble bird poop? (But that’s the Naturalist in me, again, isn’t it? Monet’s flowers and Hughes’ faeries versus paint tube splatters and Elephant art.)(Apologies to the elephants.)

The $64,000 question is this: how can I pursue my passions and still make enough money to keep the mortgage (and health insurance) paid? The job (which is just that: a job, not a passion and not a career) pays the bills. I have eight more years before I can retire. I am unhappy. I have deep stirrings to change my life and do it NOW. I also have a strong leaning toward being cautious (the Introverted self and the Controlling self).

I plan to continue blogging along this line for awhile as I seek, knock, ask. I intend to find the answer. I intend to succeed at my passion and my calling. Stay tuned.


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