It is that time of year again that I always seem to find myself reflecting on the year that has passed. As we attempt to wind down on a year that for many would be one to forget, I remind myself not to fall into that dialogue. Nobody would argue that it has been a rubbish year in many ways, but personally I have lots to feel thankful for....tired and thankful.
The week I quit my day job
For the last 5 years, alongside my art business, I have also had a part-time, 3 day a week job promoting two holiday rentals businesses on the Mornington Peninsula. This job has paid my mortgage and bills, and only just. Any other stuff I've needed has had to wait for profits from painting sales. It is true I could have taken a full-time admin job to earn more money and make life a bit more secure, but something inside of me refused to do that. When I pondered what I would do if I had more money I realised that I would buy more time, to paint, so why would I take a full-time job and be too tired to do the thing I wanted to do the most?
Don't get me wrong this wasn't the easiest and probably not the most sensible option to choose. At times it has been hard, working a job and then building a business the other days of the week. Finances were also unpredictable and a bit scary...I remember one time having only $60 left in my bank account, the day before the opening of The Affordable Art Fair, after spending $4k towards the cost of a stand and not knowing whether a single painting would sell, never mind the outlay of costs for canvas, frames and paint before you get to the fair, but if you are going to do this art thing...you have to go all in.....AND THEN COVID COMES ALONG.
This week....just over 10 years after I exhibited my first painting I quit my day job....YAY! This week has felt strange. You would think I would be over the moon...and it has felt so liberating..from 2022 I will be a FULL TIME ARTIST!!...my dream and goal, but I have had an odd reaction. I realised that I am now totally in charge and responsible for my own time and my own life. You could argue that I always was and that's true, but I never felt it. Previously I had always followed along with the expectations of others and society. I had roles and responsibilities...to go to school, go to college, to get a job, to get married, to have children, to take care of my family...always working considering someone before myself or someone else in charge of the clock. This week, for the first time in my life, at nearly 52, I have arrived at a place where my life and my days are now totally my choice and totally my responsibility, that feels a little bit scary...but exciting scary :)
It still hasn't sunk in that I am now a full time artist, my dream life, who sells enough paintings to be able to live the life I always wanted. It's true I still don't earn a fortune, but I don't want fancy cars or yachts or any of that stuff. I've had stuff in my life and we know it doesn't make us happy. To be able to choose how you spend each day to me seems like the ultimate freedom. I think it will take me a little while to settle into this new feeling. I still woke on Monday morning with a feeling of dread, but quickly realised that this is just bad habit. I will need to create a structure for myself, though the idea of structure has always had me rebelling :) I will need to learn to relax and organise myself enough to enjoy this phase of my life. I am currently lucky enough to have my health, I am in a wonderfully supportive relationship and my children are all well and doing okay in their lives.
Sometimes the guilt hits me (catholic upbringing)...how do I not feel occasionally guilty to feel in this good space when others are in such pain, but I have resolved to keep my energy high and channel this positive energy through my work and out into the world. As artists we often question why we do what we do. This year I decided that I would create joyful paintings in the hope that those who are drawn to them will feel that joy and it will lift their positive energy. In these tough times I feel happy with that. I hope you too had things to be grateful for from the last year x