...is how we spend our lives.
A few days ago I came upon this quote from Annie Dillard and it made me stop and think. If I were to be at the end of my life and look back would I be happy with how I spent these past few days, weeks, months, decades of my life? The answer was no. I knew immediately that I needed to focus on this feeling and search for a renewed purpose in who I am. I got my sketchbook and markers and wrote this quote over and over and over, pages upon pages were filled with these words. I focused on the words, memorizing them as single words then as a whole sentence, engrossed in their meaning and trying to come to a conclusion towards how I wanted them to be a part of my life. Finally, I wrote the quote in a fluid motion, these words, like days came together to form a sentence, a sentence which gave me a new outlook on life. I set my sketchbook on the center of my desk and went to bed setting an intention to awake the next day and spend my day as I wanted to spend my life.
I had a list of orders I had been neglecting and knew I needed to get to them on this fresh new day. My days before this had been filled with panic and doubt and my practice had been plagued with insecurities spilling over from my life, making my work a hindrance, however, I wasn't allowing this to put a cloud over today. This isn't how I intended to live my life. Reflecting back I realized as a teen I went to college to learn a trade to assure I spent my days and life doing something I loved. I started out being practical focusing on art education. In my twenties practicality slipped away as I fell in love with jewelry and metals. I knew this would be more difficult to pursue as a career but I knew it was where my heart was. I looked forward to the challenges of this medium as I learned the tools of the trade. It became clear to me that I was loving my days spent at the bench much more than my days spent at a desk in front of a projection screen and I went forth to change my major and get my BFA in jewelry and metals. Days and my life slipped away and in my thirties I found my way back to my bench to focus on spending my days doing what I love, hoping it would lead me towards making a living doing what I love. I felt rusty (I still feel rusty), I lacked confidence (still do), panic, doubt and insecurities creeped in but that was before, I had intended on today being different. I wanted to spend my day as my twenty-something self planned to when I starting in the jewelry and metals program. I had spent the night before meditating on this quote and today I went to my bench not only to put a dent in these orders but I was going to have fun doing it.
Part of my intention for the day was enjoying the process, the tools involved, the hiss of the flame, tap of the hammer and dull sound of the mallet shaping silver over a steel mandrel. I came to realize how gracefully I move my beloved tools over metal and my confidence started to find its way back to me.
Being lost in the movements of metalsmithing I soon realized that what I dreaded and feared had slipped away. My pieces were taking form, silver wire had become bangles that someone will wear for years to come. This is how I wanted to spend my days and life.
Spending my days feeling happy, accomplished and more certain than the day before will lead to a life spent the same way. I am grateful to have this new outlook and will continue to embrace it.
As I type this I am sipping coffee, being interrupted by my dog who just needs to be pet right now, and looking forward to another day at the bench. Today I will have my furball by my feet and I won't get as much done but she is a part of my days and my life and I wouldn't change that for the world.
Thank you for reading. I hope this quote can bring meaning to your day. Yesterday I was brought great joy after sharing it on my facebook page and having someone tell me she needed to see that at that moment on just that day. Some days we spend helping people in ways we don't even realize and if that is how I spend my life I won't look back and regret that at all.