We've been back for a week already. Mostly I've slept in, walked, gone to Starbucks to journal, and done some shopping but mostly I've moved slow and knit. Other than to check my email and do research, I haven't even been in the studio. Maybe next week. I have some things started for my new grand-baby, a dress and a top cut out ready to sew, and a raincoat to finish to say nothing of some fabric beads waiting to be made into a necklace. There's no shortage of to do.
This week, I've been buying furniture for a house I don't even own yet. The dresser is scuffed but the drawers are clean and smooth pulling and it's a quality built piece. The chairs are solid oak and heavy. The dresser was $65 and the chairs were $5 each which evens out to $15 a piece and that's more than reasonable. I'll refinish the pieces with chalk paint - it's like a wonder drug for furniture... and floors... and cement... and just about anything you'd like to paint including upholstery.
I haven't picked it up yet but I've bought another upholstered chair. I couldn't resist it as a trial and error piece for trying working with chalk paint on fabric. Unfortunately the chair is an ugly dark beige but I intend to change that because fortunately it's solidly built with a firm cushion and sturdy frame and was reduced down to $5.00 simply because it had been there too long. I told the manager at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store that I don't intend to buy new furniture; there's no need since she's always getting in great things I can use and I'm happy to support them.
One of the things I realized on our cruise was how confident I've become with who I am now and with who I'm becoming. It never crossed my mind to wonder do you like me. It didn't matter. Some will, some won't, that's life. I didn't feel a need to fit in as much as I wanted to just be myself and see where that led me and it led me to some very interesting connections and conversations. Much credit goes to Diane for our coaching sessions over the past year. She's made me see myself different, more realistically, better.
The women that I connected with on the cruise were also creative. I enjoyed hearing their story and sharing our commonalities. I like creativity. I like color. I like simplicity. I like words. I love fabric. I enjoy people. I'm insatiably curious. And that's not so unusual. What I've learned over the last four years especially is that I am both unique and not so special that there aren't other women like me and when I connect with my "tribe" it makes each of us better. YES YES. That's a key factor in why I'm moving. Being around creative people makes me more creative and allows me to encourage them in their creativity. It's win-win and that's a highly addictive drug too.
The thing I most enjoyed about our cruise was spending three weeks with my husband. With his work and illness holidays have been rare and it was wonderful to have that time. We've always traveled well together and we did this time as well. That makes for a better trip. We respect each other's space physically and emotionally. We don't crowd one another. We do most things together and but we also do things separately when the activity appeals to only one of us. This trip was at the top of Howard's bucket list and not at all on mine so I was extra aware that I wanted it to be a good trip for him and I didn't want him to worry about if I was having fun or not. That didn't happen. I found my areas of interest and they were...
... not surprisingly, the same areas of interest that I have here. People's stories. Curious questions. Creative potential. Personal growth. Friends. Family. Faith. I wondered if when I got back from Europe would I still want to move to Salmon Arm since we'll be living in two different houses and getting together only on the weekends until Howard's job changes. No. In fact, I came back even more committed to the move. I haven't wavered on that thought since I got back from Oregon although I've been at times both excited and terrified. It is new.
I realized looking around the ship that life is short and that if you don't make time for and get to what you want to do, there is every chance you'll never get there. Time does not just appear; it is carved out and taken. I talked to women that were 10, 20, and 30 years older than me and many were still trying to "find time". They all understood, even envied, when I said I'm fifty-three, my kids are grown, it's my turn, and I'm not willing to wait any longer, especially not fifteen years longer until my husband retires. I had a lot of cheer-leading support and many well wishes when we said good-bye.
I'm not typically a big risk taker although I've taken enough risks to experience both success and failure. In my study this week, the author wrote that if you've never failed, you've most likely never risked and that if you've never risked, you're not living life full out. Moving to Salmon Arm is a risk. There are many what ifs including the biggest of what if my husband doesn't follow me. He says I shouldn't worry and he is in fact taking huge steps to change his job but it's still a risk when you start to march to a different drummer... and it's a risk I have to take because I want to live life full out and I'm not doing that here and now that I know the difference, it's a choice between stagnation and growth.
I am so glad that I found the textile gallery in Prague. It was the final piece of the puzzle - a beautiful gallery, in a high traffic location with lots of money walking by, well lit, with quality pieces reasonably priced, and wall art pieces similar to those I make. And they "rarely" sell. That was good to hear. It was good to realize that this is not my problem but a universal one and I'm not likely to win the battle so perhaps I want to change my game plan. I'm saying no to making things for anyone but me - as in having it come from the heart - and yes to exploring curiously whatever takes my interest. It's that fine line between I may sell something but I won't make it to sell; the line between personal creativity and creative prostitution. Right now...
... that includes continuing to sew increasingly creative clothes but also learning to paint furniture. And it includes continuing to knit but also learning how to make jewelry. And how to paint paintings. And how to cook healthy. And maybe even how to garden. And it includes finding and setting up a home, decorating it with up-cycled furniture, enjoying the thrill of the hunt, the possibility of the project, the transformation to finished piece, and the delight of a collection. I believe that by making my art more about me and enjoying it more fully on a increasingly personal level that it will not only broaden and deepen but quite possibly support and encourage more people. That's important to me. And at the same time, I would be delighted if this approach organically led to the opportunity to teach but I won't attempt to make that happen because it will be good and enough in itself.
The last take-away was the need to take care of myself - holistically - spiritually, emotionally, financially, physically, and relationally. Looking around on the ship, I realized how important that is. The group was a cross section of choices, some best not taken. I plan to join Curves and work on flexibility and basic muscle toning. And I plan to be more visible and interact to a greater degree outside my home. I'll continue with the daytime knitting group, join an evening one, look into the invitation I received to be part of a choir, and explore the possibility of hosting a creative book club along with making sure that my new studio is open for friends to come and go. YES YES
Today, we're off to Salmon Arm. In the afternoon, I'll go to the knitting group but in the morning, we're looking at houses. Hopefully we'll find one and put an offer in and start moving forward. As you can see, I'm collecting a lot of decorating ideas to explore and furniture that needs some place to go.
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - a supportive husband