I’m doing some much needed packing-up-the-house, DIY, creative recharging this week so I’ll be sharing a few guest posts with you! The first is from Evelyn Reeve of oh my word!
like so many of you, i have been inspired by the latest scoutie girl posts on living creatively. hearing the stories and reading the comments prompted me to take a step back and reflect upon what living a creative life really means to me. what I learned were that there are three basic fundamentals that help me find happiness, balance, and growth in my life – my recipe for personal success. getting them written can now become a gentle reminder to follow my own advice when things go squirrelly. i wish you success in self-discovery + living creatively!
one. find a happy balance.
have you ever worked for nine or ten hours just to find yourself asking what you have to show for it? maybe you had worked for countless hours designing, printing, and cutting out fresh business cards and didn’t make a penny all day or maybe too many hours were lost bumbling your way through a new pattern creation. perhaps it was designing an ad for a client who, in the 11th hour, decided they would rather have some clever in-house person “give it a try.” i have had those days, working from home, when you work through lunch, work until 1 a.m., and expend so much creative energy that you’re too tired to have fun…oh yes. i’ve been there. we all have. it’s our blessing and our curse as creative-types, especially if we’re self-employed.
but one day recently, after working past midnight, my husband went to bed without me. again. i had to stop and ask myself, “is this worth it?” wasn’t the whole point of working for myself to increase my own standard of living through happiness and harmony? (clearly, it’s not for the money.) and here i am, working harder than ever, for next to nothing, but i know without question, that i am following the right path for my life.
frankly, i love every minute of it all, but what i am frequently guilty of is finding that harmony, that balance between being an artist and entrepreneur, a business owner and life partner, eco-friendly and cost-effective, earning and giving back…it’s all a daily challenge, but one i am willing to take. I am learning to prioritize, to say no when too many things come up – whether business or pleasure, to reexamine if a process is working, to not be afraid to change things when they are no longer working the way i want them to. you see, we set the rules for ourselves in our lives. we are the change we are all waiting for. just remember love what you do, even when it’s hard. especially when it’s hard.
two. connect with people.
now that i am on a mission to take control of my life, i realize i’m becoming dangerously hermit-like and a bit of a martyr for change advocacy, while trying to do the absolute minimum (shame on me). then i remember that there are people on the other side of these four blue office walls. and those people are pretty nice. and i can learn things from them. lots of things. i love twitter and blogging and am warming up to facebook, but i am guilty of disconnection and remembering that those are real folks on the other side of that avatar. chances are, if you like folks online, you’ll like them in the flesh. in the last couple of weeks, i went out and met with a few friendly faces that i just happen to have met online. i utterly love these people! we are cut of the same cloth. i had to ask myself…why did i wait so long to connect?
maybe you’re guilty of the same thing…simply not coming out of your shell. i challenge you to not only network online, but get out in your community. meet locals like you. build your own support system. give back to your community. volunteer. make friends. be a better neighbor and citizen of our planet. we all need help and a smiling face now and again, but, most of all, we need to encourage one another’s successes and celebrate small victories because those small things add up to big change. we all love the blogosphere, but it’s not a replacement for a handshake and a cup of coffee with a new friend. remember…we are the change. make it happen. own it. love it.
three. be your biggest fan.
this is the one that has taken me years to believe: no matter how hard you try, you can’t please everyone all the time. it’s an uphill battle and you will lose. but rather than let that upset or depress you (or even, like the old me, work harder and still end up disappointed), become your biggest fan — your loudest, A+ #1 cheerleader. it’s okay if not everyone likes you or your personal choices. art and life – whether it’s in clothing, art, work, music, quilting, cooking, parenting, whatever – is made of personal choices. all of these things are built of the little things that make you unique, a manifestation of how you see things, your beliefs, your abilities. commit fully and whole-heartedly to believing in yourself and see what happens. for me, i stopped longing for approval. i just trusted that what i was doing would either work or fail, but it was my journey to take and keep my fingers crossed that my small ripples may cause bigger waves down the river. i am learning to accept either outcome and not looking at failure as a negative.
without failure, no one tries. without trying, no one learns. without learning, there is no growth.
it sounds simple, but i really believe in the “i think, therefore i am. i do, therefore i live” approach to life simplification.
so, there you have it. the three biggest motivators that keep me living creatively. thanks for letting me get on my soapbox. if you’re near central Ohio, let me know because i’d like to meet you for coffee, shake your hand, and see how we can change the world together.
oh my word!