Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Crafting a Life

It's all about balance. Sometimes we get so caught up in the balancing act itself (don't drop anything, don't fall over, suck in your tum while you balance on one foot so you look good), that we forget why we're doing it in the first place.

A phrase popped into my head the other day as Heather and I were emailing to and fro. Our emails aren't really back and forth because that gets you nowhere and our thoughts aren't tennis balls. "To and fro" because sometimes that type of movement actually gets you someplace. Not quickly mind you... but you disengage from the motion itself, look up after pacing (or tacking if you're a sailor) and you're someplace a bit different. At any rate, the phrase was "crafting a life". I want to. I've said it before and it was a hopeful, rebellious chant between my brain and heart. But I've neglected it a bit, or cocooned it, waiting for some perfect hatching moment. Which is silly, because I make the hatching moment.

Back to balance. When I feel like I'm going to tip over, I get an urge to retreat to a place designed just for that - tipping over and starting fresh. Sometimes that's as simple as taking a friend's advice to go forth and drink maple beer, buying plants for my garden, or going out for a good breakfast where waaaay too much coffee is involved. But there are days... weeks... when it feels like it's going to take a heck of a lot more than that. I start to think about what I want my life to be, what influences the person I decide to be each day. I realize how the little daily details of life distract me from really being hands-on about where I'm headed.

I'm no over achiever, no superwoman, I just want to be me. I want to do things I like, to have a say in what "work" is for me. For most of us, work is 9 to 5, and our lives happen in the off hours. I would love for that to change, for an overlap to happen where the words "work" and "life" are not antonyms. Maybe throw in the word "fun" and see what kind of brouhaha ensues. The word "craft" implies skill and handwork, a know-how obtained with practice and study... and a unique and artful product. I would like to have a life I've crafted.

It probably means maintaining the balancing act I've become used to for a bit until I can figure out a new one. Not easier, but more rewarding in the long run. I've thought about it a lot lately, and I'm under no rosey glassed assumption that this idealistic goal of mine will be easy. My hatching moment will be cobbled together from friend's scraps of wit, shared moments of enlightenment, a collection of kicks in the pants, frustration, what-ifs, leaps of faith, and support from countless kind people. And when I say cobbled together I mean a jumbled mass of work that's held together with who-knows-what... but still a unique and artful product.


Heather said...

Now we just need to figure out what to do and how to do it. I have so many ideas that sound good on paper, or more accurately, in my head. How does anyone figure out the right thing to do? I know that making the leap to do anything is risky and that makes me unhappy. I don't think I'll be happy until I'm out of my Work-Box doing what I want. Where do people find the courage to do it?

Kate said...

courage is right. and a little craziness... i'm not a big fan of risk myself. but i also realize too much caution is not a good thing. i tell myself that the whole process (good and bad) would be the point. we're a success driven and instant gratification craving culture... myself included. i try to remember that that's not what makes it worthwhile. if it was too easy, would i be very proud of myself? (example, my high school english classes) these are the things i TELL myself. today i believe them, tomorrow...

as a reminder, and to get my thoughts on paper, maybe i'll draw a picture of myself at work in the way that i'd like to be at work. i can't draw worth a toot, so it might be more torturous than inspiring. but it would force me to think about it. and i want my job to involve color and good smells in some way, so using color might not be a bad idea.

when all else fails, resort to kindergarten projects...