Tuesday, November 25, 2008

it's all good, people

i've picked up on a vibe lately from many of you, my dear readers. you're feeling sad and sorry about my business dissolving. perhaps you are disappointed, feeling let down. maybe this change in my life represents something bigger to you, maybe you are having a hard time getting excited about my new career path because, well, it just doesn't fulfill your yearning for romance.

i'll admit, going back to school, getting a job, pursuing a career path that promises security ~ on paper that certainly doesn't read as exciting as being an independent jewelry designer. as a culture, we romanticize the artist, but we don't support them. i don't mean you, my friends who follow this story. you have been incredibly supportive and i am so grateful. thank-you! i speak of the culture at large. we americans in particular are drawn to the dashing image of the solo entrepreneur, making their own rules, not bound by the 9 to 5. but without universal health coverage? just that issue alone points to the huge disconnect between what we say we value as a country and what truly support with taxes.

i want to be clear. i want this change of plan. i choose this new career path. this is good.

i am celebrating, even as i slog through resume writing and job research. the financial crises provided the breaking point, it is true, but i am thankful for the insights these current conditions have pushed to the surface. i am thrilled to have figured out some essential truths about who i am and what brings my life meaning. i am so happy, so relieved to be moving in this new direction. for those of you who only know me through this blog and since i got cancer, i realize it's a stretch of imagination.

for my old friends and family, nothing makes more sense than where i am headed now.

you know, for years i thought that the ultimate would be having my own business, running the show and making beautiful objects to sell. but to be clear, i saw myself as the artist, not the production worker. i never wanted to do my own production. it burns up your body and your spirit. i knew that wasn't for me. yet to be brutally honest, i didn't start with capitol. i didn't start with family money or a partner who paid the bills. i did not have the resources to hire help or set up shop overseas. i started with only a wing and a prayer, with rose-colored glasses firmly planted on my face.

the way i did it is not the way to success.

no regrets. i had to do it this way, my way. the lessons learned could not be gained any other way. anyone who knows me well, knows i can be very stubborn. (although growing softer with age) it often takes a big sign to get my attention. i will never say that cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me. however, when cancer showed up a year ago, i recognized it as my teacher.

what an incredible year of learning.

i have learned that i don't want to work all the time, i want to have a healthy balance between work and life. having my own business meant i could set my own schedule, but it was very hard for me to impose enough structure to be efficient or have any sense of personal equilibrium. some people thrive on working 16-hour days, but not me. i do not like the lifestyle or the hours of having my own business. for me, it means never really being "off" work, not having enough money to take a vacation, constant worry about the future and no safety net when shit hits the fan. i got sick. i developed chronic injuries that take an incredible amount of time and dedication to manage.

oh, it feels so good to say that i do not like having my own business!

call me a heretic, i don't care. for me there was little glory and much pain. but, i have learned so much from my experiment with being an entrepreneur. skills and experiences that will serve me well in any new career direction. now, i am a guerrilla-marketing expert. now, i know how to write a business plan. now, the web is my right arm. now, i am plugged into an incredible network.

i may not have found my calling with a solo-proprietorship, but i found my voice.

so celebrate with me, my dear readers. change is good. even looking at a balance sheet all in the red and worried about the immediate future, i am happy. happy to see the way forward.

the biggest thing i have given up in starting this business is making art. ironic, but true. that loss has been a source of sadness and imbalance that i believe contributed to cancer, to injury, to weight gain and all sorts of unhealthy conditions. i am so excited to get back to myself as an artist. you know, the product design comes so easily to me so it has been tempting to think that it is my path. i have an inventor's brain, an affinity for problem-solving. those gifts make me lucky, but not bound to direct that talent into a career. i have always suffered from too many ideas, too many things i was good at. such a problem, right? again, i know i am lucky to be able to choose how to apply all those strengths.

i hope to keep my jewelry studio for as long as i can and am currently seeking a studio mate to share the costs. i see myself continuing to make pieces, but only one-of-kind high end pieces. i'll offer them on my website, but in the future i won't make jewelry for a market. i'm going to play the timing by ear. at this moment, i intend to have my business transition into a hobby that may provide some occasional income, but nothing that i'm counting on to live. i am looking forward to painting again and to pursuing opportunities to create and show site-specific installations. for now, nothing has changed except my intention. when i land that full time job i am pining for, then i will really make the shift away from the jewelry studio and business.

at this point in life, i choose to put my energy into those things that feed my soul. connecting with people and helping them through big life transitions. making art for the sheer joy of creating, on my timeline. that is it, people. that is it.


modish said...

I'm so happy for you, Tay! I hope I too can find my pathway towards a happily balanced life... all of my days are far too concerned with work too- it's all-consuming, so tiring. I went into business for myself so I'd have more free time, but I have to fill that time with project after project just to makes ends meet, and I'm starting to feel I've lost myself in the process. I understand exactly what you're feeling and applaud you for going towards a new direction, and I hope you find a wonderful job for yourself. You are a natural teacher, born to encourage and inspire- what an amazing gift you'd be for a teen trying to navigate their way in this world. I think it's actually harder when you're good at too many things to figure out which way to go (I have the same curse!) but as you said in your last post, life is long, there will be time for many important things, many walks along life's different paths. Thanks for the support and inspiration you've given me, whether you know it or not. I can't wait to see what 2009 brings for us all. What a changing year it will be!
See you soon,
<3 jena

Tay said...

Thanks, Jena! I wish you clarity and contentment~

Sondra said...

Again, you sound so strong and clear. If you are considering counseling, you might talk to Martha and her partner/husban, Colin. He just finished his degree and is working and has been working with young people.
He may be able to give you some direction.
Just a suggestion from Montana,
Keep up the great work and have a delightful holiday...

Tay said...

Thanks, Sondra! That is a great suggestion, I will email Martha. The more info, the better.

I hope your holiday is warm and relaxing~

Leslie said...

I, too, applaud your new direction- a twist in your journey. Tay, you are wise. I'm older than you, yet find myself reading your words and thinking about my life and how what I choose or not- will impact me and others.
I wish you well!