Ever since the actual discussion with my Boss/Dad about my leaving the family business, my mind has been wandering with reckless abandon. About everything. Every possibility. Add to that the strange since of self and freedom I managed to discover during 2005, my Year of The Single Life, and I am just bursting with my old enthusiasm and creativity…for everything not related to my paying job.
I have been technically single my entire adult life, but most of it has been spent in a myriad of relationships. Either dating, seriously or casually, or with roommates. For the first time, in 2005, I spent the majority of the year completely single and living alone…at the same time. Yes, there were a smattering of boys here and there, but none lasted much more than a month, and none were ever destined for even boyfriendship, let alone truly serious consideration. And because of this, I had a lot of free time. A LOT. My mind wasn’t cluttered with the mental trash that is Singleton Overanlyzation. I wasn’t distracted by thoughts of dates or of relationship problems, or even roommate problems. I spent much of the beginning part of the year worrying about health problems, and completing the reeling I was doing over my ex-boyfriend, but by April, my mind had opened up considerably. The summer was filled with worry about my grandmother, but for some reason, that sort of worry just seemed to spur thoughts of the future. Most likely because it makes you think about your own mortality, and the fact that our time here never is long enough.
Those thoughts were only emphasized by the heart attacks that have plagued my extended family this year, and like any good artist, my mind began to whir with creativity. Now I am not saying I am anything close to a Van Gogh, or Amsel Adams, or even J.K. Rowlings, but creative minds spin much faster under stress, and mine has been no exception. Even my creative work at my paying job has been better. My eye for photography has focused, my feel for language has plotted out more territory in my brain, even my ear for music has grown.
And along with this, my desire for change and something drastic has returned. My childhood was spent in tornado of change. We moved every few years as my dad changed jobs, and I had to start over. I loved it until we moved to Texas. I hated leaving friends, but I loved moving to new places, meeting new people, decorating my room anew, even being the new kid in class because it gave me distinction. I saw it as a chance to become whatever I wanted all over again. I could be whoever I wanted, change whatever I wanted, and no one would be the wiser. Somewhere along the way I grew tired of that feeling. It was missing until my junior year in high school. It resurfaced with the help of some wild friends and a great theater teacher, and stayed visible through grad school. I moved apartments every year, had new roommates, tried new things, bought my first yellow car, officially became Creative by being accepted to the Creative Sequence in Advertising, and then I just gave it up. I lost it. Smatterings remained; I still loved photography, I still tried to do things none of my friends were doing before any of them thought to do it, like buying my house as a single, and very young woman. But it was all missing something. It was missing my old self. My inner cheerleader. My creative soul.
Something about this year brought it back. It started, I think, with the most amazing gift I could have ever gotten from my parents, although, I have since learned, they thought it would be a fleeting unused hobby. My Nikon D70. That camera opened my eyes again. I could see the world on screen or on paper like I saw it through my own eyes. And I could share what I saw and maybe even profit from it.
And then, the friendship that has changed my life. My friend Jenny. She has changed everything. She is my cheerleader. My mother calls her my Booster Club. She thinks the world of me (and I of her) and she has held me up and rooted for me day after day. Never doubting me, never underestimating me, always believing me when I tell her that this year is not normal. That I am not usually surrounded by so much drama.
Her encouragement, and friendship, and non-judgmental nature have made us closer friends in one year than I have ever been with anyone. From her, I have learned to take a step back. To not confront everything with a figurative pistol in my hand and vile words in my mouth. To let go of myself a little. To not be afraid to make a mistake–even if it is front of people, and not safely in the privacy of my own home. To laugh at myself. To smile when I want to yell. And most importantly, to start believing I can do anything again. She certainly thinks I can!
The final nail in the coffin was the fact that business has been slow. Very slow. I think our products have hit the phase of their life cycle when sales have leveled out. The business doesn’t have to close, but it may not make much progress growing anymore. Our product has essentially become a staple. And after three years, it may finally be time for me to move on.
The culmination of these events has, in the last three months created in me a flurry of creativity. In almost everything I do. I wrote a book, I finally started trying to sell my photography, I have increased the time I spend on my photography, I have even started thinking creatively about my resume. How do I want it to look now, as it is several years out of date? I should add a personal logo…what should it look like? I even decided I should put together a portfolio again. Even if I wind up working in a corporate setting in marketing, it can’t hurt to have a creative portfolio produced. I would imagine it would be great in an interview. A great way to set me apart from other candidates. “Yes, I am qualified to do the business end of this job, but oh, by the way, I am also quite creative and will be able to effectively communicate with our advertising agency.”
So to sum things up, although 2005 was just about the worst year I have yet encountered, it was also an unbelievably productive one for my psyche. I am so thankful to have been reintroduced to my right brain. Hopefully, wherever 2006 takes me, my creativity will be in hot pursuit.