“When transitions happen and identities change, one of our great challenges is to find a new sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. That sounds simple but it isn’t easy.” ~ Mary Pipher, Women Rowing North
With the welcome transition of winter into spring, I find myself in a state of cocooning. My art has grown quiet, my writing silent. The camera sits on the desk, unused because I am uninspired by what used to delight me, finding the beauty in the ordinary. How many times can I photograph the trees in the yard, the fungi growing on rotting logs, the same signs of spring that I’ve photographed before? Other than our snowdrops, the flowers and trees have yet begun to bud but even if they were I find myself not inspired to photograph them.
This feeling is unsettling and I am unsure how to navigate it.
“Your life is a story of transition. You are always leaving one chapter behind while moving on to the next.” ~ Anonymous
This is the feeling I have, that I am leaving a chapter behind and moving on to the next, but have not yet identified what the ‘next’ is. I’m restless and unsure, finding my days more unscheduled, which is so unlike me. I’ve wrestled with this feeling before, this sense of not having a purpose, but then wonder; when is it okay to not have a purpose, to just be and enjoy each day as it comes? When do I give myself permission to live in the moment? Do I have to be continuously working on improving a skill, becoming a better artist, writer, photographer?
Is it okay just to do these things purely for the pleasure it brings me, without picturing how I will post it on Instagram?
I feel it is time to let go of the guilt I experience when reading that in order to grow as an artist I need to create every day. That is such a weight on my shoulders, to know that I do have the ability to grow as an artist and yet am not taking the time to work on it.
Note the word ‘work’. At this point in my life (I am turning 61), shouldn’t doing something I love be defined as ‘play’? And is it okay that I am not producing a body of work on a regular basis? I sometimes think about deleting all the artists and photographers that I follow on Instagram, if only because watching their progress makes me feel guilty that I am not being productive.
“Life becomes so much simpler when we realize we are in no hurry. We can learn when to toss our lists out the window and step into the moment. When our old cat jumps into our lap, we can stop writing our to-do list and snuggle with our purring friend. If we are reading a magazine and a child shows up who wants to bake cookies, we can find the measuring spoons, flour, and sugar. When a friend suggests a walk while we are cleaning the garage, we can say, “Yes, yes, yes.” ~Mary Pipher, Women Rowing North
Perhaps that is the answer. Perhaps it is time to unplug for a while and just enjoy whatever the day brings. Embrace my unscheduled days and view them as a gift. Give myself permission to play with the pups, soak up the spring sun, call a friend to go for a walk. Just be.
Perhaps being is enough.