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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The One Where I Run Away To Join The Circus

Hi there,

I know we haven't talked in a while but let me explain why.

Photo by Amanda Rebholz
Life has been really busy between a career I thought I should have and my passion for the arts.  For the last year I have been leading one life behind a desk in an office and another in front of an audience on a stage. I have been doing a balancing act that came at the expense of my friends, free time and emotional well-being. My two lives are wildly incompatible and the moment where I have to choose has been rapidly approaching.

I had been avoiding making any decision until the beginning of October when I found out that my current position in the company I have been with since receiving my Supply Chain degree was in jeopardy. It's not like this came as a shock to me since I have been unhappy for some time but it was an emotional upset in that it forced me to make some tough decisions.

I had been plotting the safe expected route all of my life and only allowing myself to dabble in things that brought me joy. I had been conditioned to believe that if I did all the things that were expected of me there was some kind of distinct pay off in the end. I think I had imagined some kind of award or banner with the text "You did it! Now you will live forever and never die" The joke was on me because the longer I have followed the safe and expected path the more I realize there is not celebration of perfectly achieved success at the end nor does it exist.

I decided to take a few days to consider my options, receive some good advice and look for inspiration. I chose to use that time to answer some hard questions. For the first time I answered truthfully even if the implications could potentially shatter the world I had carefully constructed for myself.  I could write volumes on the baggage that was opened and the fears confronted but they will be different for everyone so there is only so much value to commit it to writing. Let us just say there were good things about never examining my happiness too closely. I never had to question if I was satisfied because society told me I was and I grieve the loss of an old life where everything was simple. Alternatively I saw opportunities I had never allowed myself to consider before and ways of being happy that I thought were for others and not me.

At the end of it all I decided that rather than looking for another corporate career job immediately I was going to take some time to see where I could go with the aerial and performing arts. It was probably the hardest choice I have ever made. I was giving up the stable life I had been raised with for something unpredictable and while it was terrifying stepping into the unknown the sense of relief I felt was immediate.

Photo by Hannah Havok
 It has now been a month since making the decision to leave the traditional work force but my life is still in the process of decoupling from it and will continue to be for the next 3 months. While I have already turned in my letter of resignation I am staying with the company a little longer to help my boss find and train my replacement. I continue to field questions from strangers at work who want to understand what my plan is and why. I cannot answer them with any sort of certainty because I do not know the answers but that is part of what I like about this new life. I get to make it what I want and make the rules for my success.

There have been ups and downs in the process and there will continue to be. For example while I did not receive any particular satisfaction from my contribution to the company I was cocooned from failure by a behemoth corporation. In making the decision to leave I can no longer be a passive cog in a large machine instead I have to be my own entity. I will now feel failure immediately and acutely but if I succeed I know it is because of my will to bring something into the world. I am lucky in that the new opportunities I have already received after making my decision are filling me with a sense of hope for what the future has to offer...even the scary bits.

As I am writing this I know it sounds like the decision to leave the day job for a dream was simple or obvious. It isn’t and it wasn’t. Some nights I cry because I don’t know how it will turn out other days I get on a lyra and think this is what I was meant to do. I continue to be thankful every day for my friends and family who have contributed advice or supported my decision in some way. I don’t know how this will turn out in the end all I know for sure right now it that I can try.

If you are interested in helping my start my new life in the circus and performing arts please consider visiting my Go Fund Me Campaign. There are a couple of large investments that will go a long way to helping me becoming and independent performer. I have tried to create a number of perks at the different contribution level as a thank you for your support.

So this is where I am in my artistic journey. What are your current struggles? What are your dreams? Leave me a comment below.

I am going to leave you with a quote from Bill Watterson that has been helping me…

"Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it's to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.
You'll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you're doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you'll hear about them.

To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it's still allowed, and I think you'll be happier for the trouble."

1 comment:

  1. good luck in all of your endeavours, this sounds like a scary but very exciting decision and whilst I imagine there will be many challenges I hope you have fun working through it! Josie x