I’ve had a few epiphanies since my meeting about Slovakia. Perhaps because I made the decision to just be open to whatever happens, I’ve realized some important things about myself, my life and what it all means.
To begin, I am a creative person.
I know, some of you are shocked at that statement. Wait until you read the next one.
I am a very self-critical person.
(I can hear some of you saying “No S%*#, Sherlock!” or some less vulgar variation like, “Duh!”)
At the same time, I am the first person to encourage others to embrace their creative sides. I recognize the power of creativity as a learning tool, as a method of healing, as a way of communicating, and so on.
If I can do that, why am I so hard on myself?
Saturday, the KramerLee family aided by Uncle Steve and one of Nathan’s students, all headed to Chelsea, MA (1 hour away) to help Nathan paint some of the set he is designing for an upcoming production of Uncle Vanya. I admit, this was not completely an act of selfless volunteerism, I wanted to do it in the hopes that I might be able to see my husband a little before I disappear into Slovakia for 11 days, and the show opens on December 29th.
I also had the urge to paint something fun.
While there were several things that needed painting, I wanted to do the backdrop of the outdoor scene, which was meant to look kind of like an impressionistic forest of trees. The student and I started working on that while Sarah and Uncle Steve scraped furniture (Sarah wanted to do whatever Steve was doing) and Nathan got other projects ready.
I dove in, just enjoying the moment, not worrying about the end result. The student, however, spent a lot of time stressing on if he was doing it “right”. Now, since none of us are expert painters, and certainly not in impressionist styles, I kept pointing out to him that it didn’t matter if it was right or wrong. In the end, the result would be great.
I explained, as he worried, that one of the great things about theater is that we don’t always know what we are doing, we just find creative ways to get the job done. In this instance, all of us joined the challenge to achieve the goal.
So, where does the epiphany come in? It comes from me finally recognizing that there is a difference between living a creative life and being an expert at something. My personal struggle has always been with wanting to be recognized for what I do, whether it is through pay or awards or acknowledgement or thank you’s or a title or whatever. In my mind, I equate those things with being an “expert” with “value.”
But, in reality, an expert is a person who “has special skills at a task or knowledge in a subject.” It has nothing to do with pay or a title. I have a lot of expertise in a lot of different areas, but that doesn’t matter. What really matters to me is that I live my life as creatively as possible.
Nathan and I were talking the other day about what the word “career” means. “Could living be your career?” he asked.
Could living be my career? Does a career require a salary or a certain level of achievement? Or could my career be simply living a creative life, and encouraging other people to do the same?
Now my personal goal is to embrace the idea that living creatively is my career. It may never make me money or give me fame, but I believe I will look back on that life and say “I REALLY lived!”
What do you think?