In a recent post, Clarity, Part 1 I wrote about finding clarity in all of my ideas, how to make them real, letting go and asking why. I really had to think hard about each facet and right now I think letting go is the hardest part. Because letting go means you're consciously deciding to move on from something that you like, is important to you, or even something that defined you. And it means that you're trusting the thing you're committing to is worth it, even if it's not a guarantee.
I've always had lots of ideas and I've always loved to make things with my hands. I was really artsy and crafty since I was little- I had a tiny little art desk in my Dad's basement office and he still has all of my childhood drawings up on his wall. Art came to me naturally and I realize now that I liked doing a lot of different things because I wanted to learn how to do them. I never just focused on one thing, I learned how to do it- like beaded necklaces, and then I got good at it, which is why there's still a giant pile of old necklaces I made hanging in my art cabinet at home. But then I moved on to something else that interested me. In adulthood that's translated nicely into teaching elementary art because I like kids, I'm good with kids and you have to teach a wide variety of projects and subject matter.
On the artistic side of things, it didn't translate so well. I opened a bunch of Etsy shops, tried out craft shows, overbought materials and then ended up selling them on craigslist or just donating them. It's taken me many years to understand that if I were to be a full-time artist or craftsperson I'd have to figure out something I could make repeatedly and still love both the process and the products I'm selling. For now that's my painted canvases which are working for me because I have a set medium and style and I can explore the imagery within those constraints. However I have to say that once I committed to focusing just on those paintings- the thought of doing it full time was daunting. I can't give artwork up completely, there's something very special about having an idea, seeing it through to the end and creating something from nothing with your own ideas. But for now I think it's a hobby and I'm okay with that (two weeks ago I wasn't but now I think I am...) Maybe one day I'll want to go back to artwork as my main focus and create a fabric and paper goods line like I've always wanted, but that has to be on the back burner for a while and that's okay too.
Gluten free baking actually fits with my preference for learning new things, conquering them and then creating new recipes that taste great and fit within a few constraints. I've always loved to cook and I didn't start baking a lot until Celiac disease came along. Then I went into it full force because I wanted to know what it was all about and because I couldn't find what I wanted in the stores. What's most important to me now and what I need to commit to in order for it to really happen is opening a gluten free bakery. Maybe I bake from home, rent a kitchen space, sell wholesale or at farmer's markets and eventually open an actual storefront. But it's what I want and I have to let go of other things that take time away from making the bakery happen.
It's hard for me to let go of pursuing a career in the arts because I've always self-identified as artistic. But I also think that growth and change are good and I love the unknowns of life. I want to embrace the idea that I can't perfectly plan out my life and that I can take these different paths with optimism and courage. So,
I'm letting go of teaching art- I'll still teach for a while and maybe then I'll go part-time. But I know I'm ready to move on.
I'm letting go of teaching private art lessons and summer art classes- for an art teacher this seems like the smartest and most obvious way to earn extra income on the side. But at the end of the day, I don't want to be doing the exact same thing I've done all day and in the summer I want to explore something new. When I sit down and envision myself running out right now to teach a lesson, I just don't really want to do it.
I'm letting go of crafty/diy projects- There are some amazing ideas out there. But let me tell you, they always take more materials, more labor, more time and more money than I originally expect and lately the projects I've done have not really been worth the money, effort or time and on top of that they've turned out kind of crappy. Let someone else refinish the vintage dresser and I'll pay the money because I know how much time, money and effort it took.
I'm letting go of making all my food from scratch and eating totally Paleo- I felt SO GOOD when I followed the SCD and GAPS diets, I've written a lot about it here on this blog and I even started this blog based on my experience. But working a full time job and painting, baking and blogging on the side leaves very little time to make your own ketchup, yogurt, breads and basically everything. I'm not against that way of eating, I would LOVE to eat that way consistently. But I think I've found that what I need is to stress less about the food we eat and that I need to make more time for other things. I'll still eat all natural, lower carb and as little processed sugar as possible, and I'll definitely still eat my baked goods with almond flour and honey, but sometimes a girl just needs some Indian Buffet, Pho and buttercream frosting
I'm letting go of selling vintage things on Etsy- I love me a good thrift store find- fur and leather vintage boots hand-made in Italy for $8? Amazing! But I have a good couple of boxes that have just been sitting in our basement full of stuff waiting to be sold and just like crafty/diy projects, doing the work to photograph, list and sell those goodies takes time and effort. And I need to be using my time for other things at this point. So good bye beautiful milk glass vases, good bye.
I'm letting go of artwork as a main focus, as mentioned above.
MAKING THEM REAL
I've taught long enough now that I'm ready for a change and I'm ready to explore something new. I want to develop a new side of me, learn the ins and outs of a new business/job/career and support my passions. I want to make a living from doing the things I love! That means making money and choosing the projects that will be successful but that I also enjoy.
Which is a gluten free bakery. I'm passionate about it, it offers enough variety that I won't get bored and I'm sure it will keep me on my toes and out of all of my ideas, it makes the most financial sense as a business. So to make it real I'm researching business plans (bplans.com), home bakeries (which are regulated by the Department of Agriculture), rental kitchens, farmer's markets and I even spoke with a commercial real estate agent about the cost of renting a space in my preferred neighborhood (it was too much and caused me to freak out and give up for a couple of months). I've also written out all of my possible ideas and scenarios on paper (what some call a "brain dump") and then organized everything in Google Drive. I tend to get really excited and have lots of ideas about something in the beginning, and then when I have to take the next steps to figure out how to actually make it real and if I really want it, that's where I get a little stalled. So the writing out and organizing of everything has helped because it allows me to be excited but also to stay focused.
I want to be happy and live the life I want
I want to make things I enjoy and do the things I love
I want to be myself, show my style and not conform (more tattoos people!)
I want to put valuable things into the world
I want to make people happy
I want to be around my future babies and dog more often
I want to get fresh air, go outside and see the sunshine more than just in the morning and evening
I want to be creative and make things
I want to be around stylish things and eat really yummy food!
So, there is all is for ya. What are your things, what do you want and what are you willing to let go of?