I love Fridays. Fridays are supposed to be "my day" in theory. Days that I try to keep clear of any type of schedule so that I can catch up in the garden, on laundry, house keep, write, paint, on and on ... but I have found that for me, one day is simply not enough. And on top of that, on my one day I may have to volunteer at the gallery, or meet with a client on a side job, or work on such side job and then that one day ... disappears. I fill up those one days so much that I always wind up disappointed on what I've caught up on knowing full well that it is impossible to fit everything in on one day.
That's when my reasonable bartering self pipes in: "If you just spend one hour in the morning daily weeding, or folding laundry, or painting, or [fill in the blank], you would be okay and could make the most of your one day." Sounds good doesn't it? But life just doesn't work that way. I have learned that one has to be fluid. One cannot simply have a rigid hour by hour, play by play schedule everyday and expect it to work because life is all about ebb and flow. It's best to go with that flow. The unexpected phone call from a good friend that lasts an hour or more. The strike of inspiration. The overcoming need to weed an entire section of the garden all else be damned. The need to get the fridge cleaned out and organized. That kind of life stuff just doesn't fit into a "schedule" or wait for "one day." It flows on down stream and it's much easier flowing with it then swimming against it.
Saturdays I reserve for the lake with much more discipline because at the lake is where I breathe and really recharge. Plus it is much easier to get into a car and drive away leaving everything behind rather than stewing in the middle of it all. Having these precious lake days has allowed me to think much more clearly, to slow down to look at the big picture.
A sneak peak at the lake (which I will feature someday soon.)
What have I concluded with this slowing down, deep thinking time? My inner voice blurted out, "Quit your dream job. Go for it! What are you waiting for? It's now or never!" That sounds like a bit of an oxymoron doesn't it? Allow me to explain as we walk through my new dream job which sounds easier said then done.
It begins here in my little gallery space back in the village of Clayton, that will officially be open Columbus Day weekend of this year. (It needs a few more finishing touches and I have much more inventory.)
This venture of art & garden speaks to me. I just feel it is what I am supposed to be doing. No longer will I toil in the soil of someone else's garden thinking only about how my garden needs my attention, feeling that it is not what I should be doing with my life listening to all the BUT-IFs flying around in my head. BUT the money is good. BUT you are gardening and getting PAID for it! IF you can just do this for a few more years. IF you achieve some sort of balance ... Meanwhile my soul shrivels, time ticks, my attentions are distracted, my true dream fades, my creativity dries up (like this *#! drought we're having). And another thought encroaches, "You are preparing to move to the lake one day. If you do not establish your artwork now in the high traffic location of the village, then what will you do? Time's ticking. Tick tick."
I haven't figured it all out yet but no matter. I am taking the leap. I am jumping into my free fall. I have a whirlwind of ideas in my head: the cheap newspaper ad, the sidewalk sign, official open hours, tea time in the garden?, hosting events, workshops, selling plants in addition to art, selling seeds?, handouts about gardening about pollinators about butterflies ... Some way, some day I will pull it altogether. But here's the catch, I have a year. My husband and I agreed that I could try it out for a year with my full attention directed at art and garden and somehow making a business out of it.
Don't misunderstand me. I know I am fortunate and privileged to be able to walk away from a good paying job; 1. Because I can rely on my husband's income (hopefully—sweating that one a little), 2. I don't have children, 3. I am not working for retirement — meaning I plan to work at something for the rest of my life.
When I think about that statement "walking away from a good paying job," another little voice screams "You're crazy!" That's the same downer voice that runs on and on blabbering "This will never work! * What makes you think you can do this? * Who the hell is going to want to shop here? * How are you going to make any money? * What IF it doesn't work? * What IF you completely fail? * Then what will you do?"
But then there's flip side. A little girl who is so excited and bubbly with joy who timidly asks "What IF it does work? * What IF you LOVE it? * What if you can't wait to get out of bed in the morning and completely dig (pun intended) what you do for a living? * What IF you get really, really, really good at painting? * What if it pays reasonably? * What if you actually ENJOY it?"
As a co-worker and friend of mine used to say, "Time will smell." It may sound easy to walk away from work but as you can see there is a great deal of work to be done here in the Violet Fern garden to bring her back to her glory. I will also have to paint like mad this winter. I will also have to be extremely creative and become exceptional at marketing. I will also have to keep self-doubt at bay. There's really nothing easy about it, but just the thought of it makes me giddy and happy. The possibilities seem endless.
When I first began my job at Thousand Islands Park I thought what a dream! Gardening all day and getting paid! Now I realize one should be very careful what they wish for. Although I thoroughly enjoyed working at the Park, it took all my energy to tend the garden beds, mulch, add soil — heavy, physical work. And even though it was not a full day of work — I don't think I could have the stamina — it was four days a week in a row, every week. A three day break to physically recover, but not necessarily because I also worked a few side jobs on my one day, and so that became two days to recover unless I worked, frustratedly (sometimes even in tears), in my garden and that became one day to recover ...
This year I turned all side jobs down except for one special client. This year, I realize that yoga is required. Last winter I worked out using the Bar Method and neglected my yoga routine — boy did I feel the difference this year! Not to say the Bar Method isn't any good because it is! I actually enjoy it and gained muscle back — no small feat. Just to say that the yoga kept me limber and more flexible. I need to practice both methods.
So I have struggled both mentally and physically. Mentally, I have found some insight and answers (at the lake). Physically, I am still lacking but trying to gear up for September. The September work calendar has been wiped clean. I do not have just a date with my garden but a whole month to get reacquainted! All my tools will reside in my shed where they belong (and not in the back of my car). My car will get a deep cleaning. My soul will get a deep cleansing as well ... and a taste of what is to come.
October 8 and 9 the Violet Fern Art Studio & Garden will be officially open. Hopefully the garden will look better. The gallery space will be finished and fully stocked. I'll be able to have a sense of what to expect for next summer, to see if this dream job is more of a dream than my last. After that, it's back to the Park to clean up the gardens for the next person or persons. To cut things down, put the beds to rest, to "close." I am ready to close that chapter and hang my open sign for the next.
P. S. You might have noticed this is Saturday and not Friday. Well, I just didn't quite fit everything in on that one day.
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