Monday, June 1, 2015
When I was 5 years old, I knew clear as day what I wanted to be when I grew up: An Actress.
When I turned 10, I filled out a questionnaire and answered: A Teacher.
By the time I was 15, I was most definitely headed back into the acting world.
As I entered my 20's, I was turning the corner and gunning to be a international college recruiter.
Then 25 moved me into the world of business, running a wholesale jewelry company and manning my sister's retail store.
The year of 30 was filled with possibility because I'd been doing so many varied things, I had choices, I had dreams, I had a ton of opportunities to do a ton of different things. I didn't chose just one, I chose them all!
By the age of 35, I realized all of them were possible to keep up with, if I just did them all in little bits and pieces. So, I was acting, I was teaching elementary school, I had my own greeting card company, I worked at a retail store, I organized closets, and advised on international studies. I was doing it all and not doing much of any of it. I was scattered and spread a bit thin, but I kept going because I couldn't choose just one and really wasn't sure anymore what I wanted to be when I grew up...
At 40, I thought I should at least feel more grown up. I had become an artist who had had a number of solo shows, sold work and taught workshops, I owned a business, and people came to me as a professional...but I was still doing many jobs, a little at a time. I couldn't decide exactly what I wanted to be...and I thought that just meant I hadn't really grown up yet.
This year I turned 45 and I'm at a loss when someone asks me that seemingly grown-up question 'what do you do?' (it's no longer, 'what do you want to do when you grow up?') Which random job should I mention? Should I bring up the fact that I'm slowly and sort of painfully letting go of the greeting card company I've had for the last 10 years? Do I mention that I'm back to helping my sister run her business? That I have a studio where I still do artwork but nobody really sees it? That I teach workshops sporadically? That I co-host every event my sister holds from LA to France?
The question that inevitably follows my fumbling answer, 'well, then, what do you want to do?' isn't any easier for me. It's a list as long as my arm and as short as my tongue. It's all over the board and it's all under one idea. Or, so it seems.
If I boil it down, if I'm totally honest, if I listen to the feeling that comes up again and again, my answer is:
I want to perform.
I want to be in front of an audience waiting for my act, my speech, my version of events, my announcement, my proclamation, my explanation, my directions, or my routine.
I want to head into the studio on a regular basis and do great and important work that moves other people to hang it on their wall and communicate about the message they find in it.
I want to work with adults and kids that are heading into adulthood, whether by circumstance or age, and teach projects and life lessons and express the idea that we're all in this together and beauty can be found in a great article or in that moment when you're about to glue words over a photo.
I want to be part of a community, the way I once was as a kid.
I want to find meaning in what I'm doing. I want to go outside myself more often than not.
I want to decide on something(s) and stick with it. I want to commit fully and be able to put my head on the pillow and night and say, "I (do this)".
I've already got happiness, health, an amazing family, a fantastic husband and a really juicy dog...
So, when I grow up next...maybe it's time to finally realize it's not a box I'm looking to fill, but a venn diagram instead.