I have a confession: creating art is not fulfilling. …Don’t get me wrong, it’s fulfilling as work, but it’s actually not my entire life. (I just talk about it a lot here because this began as a sort of work blog. This might be shifting!) A lot of people ask me about my daily and weekly routine. While I try to stick to one, the fact is, I have relationships I prioritize over work. And I think that’s one of the things I like about being self-employed: the time flexibility to put my people over work.
My mom doesn’t drive. She’s had PTSD from a bad vehicle accident, so she never learned to drive. When she needs to go to a doctor appointment, or needs groceries, or just wants to hang out because it’s been a while, I can shuffle my schedule around to be there for her.
When a mom friend needed a last-minute babysitter, I was able to drop everything and run right over. When another mom friend needed relational support (as she’s from a different country and was living in Lancaster County temporarily), I carved out a few hours a month to spend time with her.
That is what’s fulfilling about my lifestyle. And as far as the art itself… I enjoy the creative process, but what’s fulfilling is connecting with people through it (especially high school kids). I love seeing people light up with inspiration, especially as I share my personal stories behind them. The misunderstood artsy kids see me as someone they could grow up to be. The art becomes a vehicle for deeper connection, including in sharing my faith, and the role of the Holy Spirit in my process. (I have some great stories about that!) That is where I get to see tangible evidence of my sense of calling as an artist.
I know a lot of hobbyist or younger artists idealize the full-time artist life. And I truly am thankful that I get to spend most of my time in a process I love. But it’s not my identity. I came to realize that spending my whole week (as in, 7 days) working is actually pretty isolating, so I’m building structures in my life that allow me to thrive holistically–spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I understand the importance of a good work ethic, but what we (especially entrepreneurs) never talk about is a good rest ethic.
So cheers to more resting, kayaking, swimming, a new gym, getting back into eating better, and game nights with friends. I’m pretty sure we create better when we get to have time as normal, well-rested, and well-rounded human beings!