At some point, when one reaches a certain age and level of wisdom, it becomes apparent there are things it’s time to let go of. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about giving up. No, this transition is more of honing into what’s really important in one’s life and embracing the tranquility that comes with the realization that the important many are really the critical few. Releasing the pressure to have it all, be everything to everyone, and do all the things that once seemed so shiny and attractive becomes a relief rather than regret.
I’ve been thinking about this in terms of how the world we live in now is not the same as the one a few years ago. We’ve come through something big (Are we through it yet? Thousands who are still denied personal freedoms and the ability to do their jobs would say otherwise and I agree.). To expect, or try to force, things to be as they once were is a burden none of us need to carry. It’s different now. We’re traumatized, in varying degrees for everyone, and we must find new and healthy ways to be in this new world that suit us as individuals.
There’s an adage I learned in my Al-Anon years that said something to the effect that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It’s crazy-making for me to keep trying to get back to where I was pre-2020. Those days are in the past. It’s time to let them lie. (I’m not talking about sitting back and letting the things that are so obviously wrong continue to have what looks like the upper hand in society. There’s work to be done and battles to be fought.)
I’ve felt for a time now that I need to shake things up but haven’t known what that might look like. It seems counterintuitive when so much has already been shaken and changed, but I have a sense of needing something different and uniquely “me”. I picked up watercolour paint in 2020 as a pandemic hobby and enjoyed many peaceful hours in my woman cave splashing paint on paper. Earlier this year, I decided to dabble in acrylics, and a new world of learning and creating has opened up. I’m enjoying this new way of expressing myself creatively. I want more. So, I’m doing something radical (for me).
I have enrolled in a summer art course called Finding Your Joy with artist Louise Fletcher. For pre-work, Louise invited us to (among other things) write a personal intention for the course. Here’s what I came up with this morning (it might change, but this is what it is for now):
I will identify and embrace my unique artistic style.
I will find inspiration from within and, through focus, intention, and with joy, create paintings that express who I am as a created and creative woman.
I will nourish this part of me this summer by stepping away from other things as needed.
I’m doing this for myself and no one else. I’m investing my time and money to do something different—and, for me, something radical. I’ve set aside a large writing project and will not be writing for my group this summer. I’ll continue to show up here because this is my beloved cyber home. Other than that, I’ve gone painting (and gardening) and trying to find joy.