Picking and Choosing

Butterfly Close up“You can complete a project by dropping it.” -Arianna Huffington

A year or so ago, I saw an old interview of Dick Cavett with Katherine Hepburn. In the interview she said something like, “No one can do it all. You have to make a choice about what you want to do, and leave the rest behind.” I loved her for saying that, because years ago my husband and I made the decision not to have children so we could pursue our artwork.

Don’t get me wrong, I love children. I worked with them in one way or another from the age of 14 or 15 until I quit teaching high school six years ago. For many years, I planned to be a mother, but I never felt that click in my head that said it was time to have children of my own.

When I let go of the idea of becoming a mother, lots of creative avenues opened up for me. For the longest time, I thought I wanted to become a theatre artist. When that didn’t seem the right path, I became a drama teacher. Both are highly creative. Those led me to writing.

Being an artist of any kind takes lots of focus. I know and admire women who are both mothers and artists. Maybe it’s my personality, but I’m single-minded. Somewhere deep inside, I knew if I was going to be a mother, I’d have to focus all my energy on that, and there would be nothing left for me to do the personal work necessary to be an artist. Life is only so long. I knew instinctively that I had to let go of being a mother. I’m glad I did, because it took me a long time to grow into my true calling.

Since listening to Ms. Huffington talk about the wake-up call she got about managing her own success, I’m extremely glad that I took care of myself enough not to force myself to become a mother just because other people were telling me too. There’ve been other things I’ve had to give up too. In my mind it’s all been worth it.

Life is a matter of picking and choosing. We can’t have it all or be it all in one lifetime. It’s good to discover who you are, what you have to offer the world, be that, and let the rest go. When we do, the world benefits from our talents.

4 thoughts on “Picking and Choosing

  1. I made the same decision for some of the same reasons. Or should I say I made the same decision over and over again. You only have to decide once if the answer is “yes” to kids, but if you decide “no,” the question returns again and again. I think it takes courage to swim against society’s current and not have kids. And to be an artist.

  2. Claudia,
    I think you are right about the question coming back again and again about having children. There have been times when I’ve thought we could adopt, but when we talk about it, we’re satisfied with our lives as they are. Thanks for your comment.

  3. I didn’t make the choice about children, but I’ve had to pick and choose a lot in my life. Recently I chose to let go (for now and possibly forever) of my dream of being a professional photographer in order to spend my time on the book that is my main passion, The Leonardo Trait. I’ve made a lot of choices lately for this book, but I don’t consider them sacrifices. Pick and choose. And I love Katharine Hepburn.

    1. Angie, I know what you mean about having to leave somethings behind when you narrow down what it is you really want to do. I have more than one interest too. Good luck on your book. I love the title. Photography may come back into your life one day.

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