If I could

Sometimes, I can’t believe I’m 30-szmmfrpha years old. According to my calculations, that means my life could be nearly half over…depending on if I take after the long-living Coburns on my mom’s side, or the Wehrlies and their poor vasculature on my dad’s side.

So here I am, 36. Two kids. A day job that pays the bills but does not feed my soul. A growing art career that – let’s be real – sometimes takes a backseat to those kids and the bill-paying. I love being a visual artist, but there are a lot of other things I would have liked to do in creative fields; and other jobs that just seemed fun, or interesting, or that I thought I’d be good at.

  • Disney Imagineer
  • Veterinarian
  • Starbucks barista
  • Writer
  • Zoo keeper
  • Riding instructor
  • Coffee shop owner
  • Park ranger
  • Comic book colorist
  • Stop motion animator
  • Stay at home mom
  • Personal assistant to someone interesting
  • Tack store owner
  • Chef
  • Librarian
  • Cake artist
  • Illustrator
  • Food Network personality
  • Window dresser/stager
  • Party planner
  • Blogger
  • Web/graphic designer
  • Personal shopper/ gift basket service
  • Organizer
  • Interior designer
  • Is this a problem that plagues a lot of creative-types? Too much energy, but not a big enough harness?  Too many ideas, and not enough time to get them all down on paper, or on the stage, or whatever the medium?

    Unless there is something I don’t know about the space-time continuum, I can’t fit all my dream jobs, large or small, into one lifetime. 

    Maybe to truly live creatively, we all need to be a little hungry for that next project, whatever form it comes in.

    7 Responses to “If I could”

    1. Nikki Says:

      ALL THE TIME. Wow, can I relate to this.

      (Also, lists! Remind me to fix that for you so it doesn’t jump to the side like that. I’ll take a look at the code tonight.)

    2. gingela5 Says:

      I think you know my feelings on this subject from Twitter. My list is probably that long but not that creative. Mine is more like: dog sitter, stay at home dog mom, puppy wrangler, professional television watcher. Maybe this just means I’m lazy! 🙂 Maybe someday we’ll get to do the things that we’re most passionate about!

    3. Rachael Says:

      I hear you. Luckily, my list of jobs I have had, but never wish to have again, is short.

    4. MIriam Hughes Says:

      Rachel – I love your work and have been following your blog for a bit and this posting motivated me to respond. I am no longer 30sjhjdbfsomething, but 50sfkdfhsomething and have gradually made the shift – part out of necessity and the need for a better quality of life…or no life at all. EEEcks.

      I wrote a short article that I will share with you on face book. Don’t wait to do what you want – add bits of it at a time and eliminate that which degrades the quality of your life. And no, i am not rich…at least not totally. I am self supporting. It can be done. I am a better writer too – but have a bad case of Montezuma’s revenge so computer time is limited tonight!

      Warmly,

      Miriam

    5. MIriam Hughes Says:

      Remember that book? It made the rounds during the 70’s, renewed and refreshed itself in the 80’s & 90’s and is still hanging tightly to its spot on the book sellers shelves in the 21st century. I read it and thought, but you have to have money to really take the chance to do what you want. And I set the book aside – forever. Life went on, my career climbed (or stumbled) up the corporate ladder and I dreamed wistfully of when I could afford to do what I really wanted to do.
      Problem was, I never knew what I wanted to do that would make me enough money to live comfortably, much less luxuriously. I love to draw, I love animals, I love being outside and I even like people a fair amount of the time. My career was based on decisions by default, being in the right place at the right time, having the right contacts and skills needed at the same time. I enjoyed parts of it, but as the years went on I realized I was bored out of my skull. I left, took all my savings and retirement and opened a business with a partner. Too long a story and old news, it no longer benefits from being rehashed, except to say it ended badly. The partner should be in jail, she’s not and I was flat out broke.
      All of a sudden I had to figure out how to support the life I had created doing stuff I was good at, but not really willing to do anymore (mind numbing, soul draining boredom being a primary reason). Someone gave me a copy of Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow while I was selling my valuables on eBay to pay my real estate taxes. I sold the book on eBay without cracking the cover.
      This time I decided not to look at what I wanted to do, but how I wanted to be each day of my life. Happy, healthy, kind, creative and solvent all came to mind. Suddenly, with prompting from a dear friend, the light bulb in the brain moment happened giving birth to MissPoop. And she lived happily ever after – right?
      Well almost. I am solvent, cheerful, healthy, kind more often than not and creative beyond my expectations…with plans to keep growing as an artist, dog trainer and writer. MissPoop keeps me grounded and I will never give it up. MissPoop, however, was not paying all the bills the first few years.
      One day, in the beginning of my new career, I was in a cell phone store getting my cell phone upgraded, and upon seeing my business card, they asked if I cleaned offices. Insulted I ran home mortified to be offered that sort of job! After all, I am now MissPoop! If I sat down and followed the guidelines of Do What You Love…I seriously doubt I would have decided to become MissPoop. However, it did meet a lot of the criteria to creating a path to a life I would enjoy.
      My friend reminded me that while I was a stellar pooper scooper, I was barely able to pay my mortgage and I really ought to think twice about saying no to any job. Name a price, he said, and if it is something you can live with, do it.
      Swallowing my pride I went back and offered my services for $100 per hour (after all that was what I made as an illustrator). Surprisingly they accepted my offer so I added office cleaning to MissPoop. I was embarrassed (and not about poop?), but decided to make the most of that 1-3 hours a week.
      I cleaned, I organized, and I mentored young employees on better communications as I scrubbed the toilet bowls. I bought flowers and cleaned up the tiny garden in front. I used fung shui to create a warmer and more welcoming store front. I threw my heart into that job but I still hid if someone I knew came in the store.
      As MissPoop grew I found I did not want to give up the cleaning job. I enjoyed the people and they liked me. I created a pretty and happy place for them to work. Eventually though, as MissPoop grew significantly and I started training dogs, I was running out of hours, even at $100 per. It was hard to give up, however a line of friends all clamored to take over my position.
      I rarely mention my cleaning job. It was my dirty little secret. The current economy reminds me that I was lucky to have the opportunity to do what I loved, and a few things I didn’t, until I got on my feet again. I believe remaining positive, and a little bit humble, success will continue to follow us. Success is more than just making a living; it is creating a life worth living. Discovering what you love to do is a process, discovered in steps with willingness to have faith in yourself. And doing a “dirty” job makes the jobs you love all that more enriching. And you can do it on a bare bones budget!

    6. Lisa Cunningham Says:

      Yes! Yes! Yes! Not only do I suffer from the same sense of artistic schizophrenia, our lists are remarkably similar. Not sure whether I’ll eventually discover my true “calling” or continue to drift from one new thing to the next. Pretty much having a ball trying new things, though.

    7. Erika Says:

      I can TOTALLY see you doing all of these things. You are amazing AND versatile!

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