I have been in a whirlwind the last three weeks. The new news is that I got a job as the curator of exhibits at the SIUC museum. With my start date around the corner, I planned to use my final week as a full time artist to think about and plan my transition back into full time work while continuing my artmaking practice. Instead, I used my last week as a full time artist to mourn the loss of my beautiful grandmother.
Since starting the job, things have moved at a much faster pace and I have had little time to sit and reflect about the last month. As far as this blog, I plan to post once a week about my artmaking travails. That is the best I can aim for.
For now, I reflect on choosing to be unemployed (in one sense) so that I could come back to my home state and practice my art in earnest. When people ask if I regret this choice, I give a definitive "no." My choice took time, lots of discussions, and a little bit of mental preparation. There were times when I felt stupid because no matter how much I planned; I still took a leap of faith in myself. I left a job without knowing what would happen and how, if ever, my career would pick back up again, or even if I would want to resume a career at a university. My partner, close friends, and family took this leap with me and I don't think I can thank them enough for their support when my decisions defied common sense. I can say with certainty: the people in your day-to-day life can make a world of difference in your personal happiness.
I have a new appreciation for how we define ourselves. In the last four months, I felt awkward not having a job title to give when I met people for the first time. Before I became a full time artist, I believed in the business logic of climbing up my own career ladder. Job titles defined my ambition, the person I am. Without a title, it was difficult for me to explain why I was at various art events or how I knew certain people. The previous job title was a part of a past life and I didn’t want it to define me anymore.