|Art Journal page, May 2014|
I can't tell you how many times (five, actually) I imagined getting a Master's Degree or a specialized certificate in something that would legitimize my latest interest in some area of work, hoping an "expensive piece of paper" would buy my ownership of something to hang my hat on. I even went so far, on each of those five occasions, as applying to various programs in different places, doing all the legwork and the paperwork, and actually getting accepted. Whereupon I realized it wasn't what I wanted to do after all.
Really, I just longed to be part of the in-crowd ~ which I saw as women who knew what they wanted to do with their lives (and those were mostly artists, in my view), and actually did it.
What I became, instead of specializing in any one thing, was a generalist. A Jill of all trades. Literally. As I took on a variety of tasks in my usually management-level jobs with nonprofit organizations, eventually I could have run an organization completely on my own.
And in retrospect, generalist is exactly what I became in my creative life as well. I can do it all now, or have done it, and done it competently. But I've still never felt like part of the in-crowd, despite trying really hard in more than one medium. Really, I think I've just been trying on different personae in pursuit of self knowledge.
Here I am, pushing 70, and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I'm thinking now that this life for me might really be about never growing up, always being a beginner, always starting afresh. In my heart of hearts, I think my real work in the world is to discover and accept the fact that being alive and enjoying my life are enough. When this is over, nothing else will matter anyway. In the recent words of a dear friend, perhaps I do have too high expectations of myself.
p.s. This weekend I practically consumed Jo Nesbo's newest standalone Nordic thriller, The Son. Highly recommended.