Eating my own tail

Some days feel like the first day of the rest of your life. Some days feel like you’re coming full circle to a place of your past. Today for me is both of these.

Yesterday I said goodbye to a wonderful team at a consulting gig that’s looked a lot like a full-time job for the last year and half. I’m so grateful to those folks for bringing me back in (as I’d worked there prior to my stint in Australia) after I lost my dad and my husband in such quick succession in early 2018. I was numb and grieving, and truly didn’t know what to do with with myself. They created a work home for me that was supportive, and not too too demanding. The position took a turn into more responsibility at the start of 2019, but still, I reserved Fridays for working on my novel.

And that novel is now at 44,000 words, and I’m carving my way through the dark arc of the plot, with the finish somewhere not too far from sight. The novel idea came to me in June 2012, just after I had founded Find Wellness and was embarking on the entrepreneurial journey that would consume me for about two & a half years, until I sold the business. So I’ve nurtured this idea and this dream for a long time, finally lighting up production last year. Reading and doing Julie Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” was a huge help at that time in re-igniting and validating my artistic impulses: highly recommend!

For, you see, I’ve always been an artist. I sold my first piece — an abstract watercolor on a piece of notebook paper – in 1984 when I was 11 years old, for just 5 yuan (we were living in Beijing, China at the time). I’m sure the couple who bought it, friends of my parents, put it in the bin not long after, but who cares? I “invented” my first product that year, too, a contraption made of balsa wood and straws. Zoom along to 1999 — I was living in San Francisco, a rudderless individual with a BA in English and French Literature to her name, and I was contemplating either pursuing art school or a philosophy PhD when the lightning insight hit me of undertaking a career as a designer. And, the interaction/user experience design field has served me delightfully well these past twenty years. Twenty years?! Aye. And I’d be deeply surprised if I didn’t continue to work as a design/product management consultant in some fashion or other in the days to come. I do like having income, after all….

But, primarily, now, I’m committing to my art. I’m committing to enacting and sharing my philosophy. Today and tomorrow and in the days to come, I’m going to make shit up. I’m going to create. I’m going to have adventures. I’m going to see what grows from the seeds I plant and nurture. I’m going to live and love and learn, the only way I know how: by going through. Life is far too precious and short not to take righteous advantage of this space that my work and life to date has enabled me. No matter however long this particular period lasts, I am transformed and lifted.

Do the stories about a looming recession share the shit out of me? Yes! I’d have a great track record here since I launched my design consultancy, Devise, in late 2007 just as the Great Recession arrived. But, I survived that, and I’ll survive whatever comes. I have wonderful friends & family, and my network deepens and expands with each new experience that comes my way. Does this transition also involve a fair measure of loss and grief, a shedding of my old skin to make way for a new pattern? Why, yes, it does. And but yet, it’s vital. There is much yet to be gained.

Reach out, friends! I want your words of wisdom; I want your inspiration; I treasure all your lights and look forward to having more time and freedom to explore the world with you. Namaste!

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