I finished off December feeling a little lost and intimidated by the path I had set ahead of myself. I was sad, frustrated, and desperately trying to relate to anything I could find that could add a little validity to my choices and my path I had chosen. I was resigned to think I was going to be miserable no matter what choice I made in life and that this was the least horrible option.
Then something kind of magical happened and woke me up.
I went to see Mary Poppins and the fog cleared.
That’s right, I went and saw a Disney movie and I felt inspired enough to wake right up out of a funk. Cheesy, cringe-y, all too predictable; story of my life.
I’ve always really admired Lin-Manuel Miranda, and there was something about his character inviting me to “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” instead of wallow in my imaginary self-pity cave that made me remember why I wanted to set forth on this path to my dreams. It made me remember the bigger picture.
And that brings me to my first lesson I learned in January 2019.
I had to redefine my purpose.
More specifically, I had to redefine, redefining my purpose.
I decided this year was going to be about finding my purpose. I came up with a word cloud, I came up with 1 year goals and quarterly goals. I decided what it truly was that I was aiming for. Happy Freaking New Year.
This month, I had two pretty large scale music projects that I was stoked for, and completing these projects got me closer to figuring out what the hell my life was going to be about.
Firstly, one of my favorite works for Chamber Orchestra was being performed by The Sound Ensemble of Seattle. I haven’t had an original piece performed live in almost a year. My last premiere was in 2016 of a chamber work. This felt like I was back in the Seattle Music Game and the opportunity basically fell I my lap. I took it all as one great big sign.
Ok so I figured out that I should have been writing music whole time because it was actually something I was pretty good at.
That brings me to my second music project. The Nutcracker video. This music video had been rolling around in my head for months! I knew I was going to do a big Nutcracker makeup series. Problem was, I didn’t plan it very well in November so, in December, things didn’t really work for me to try to film it.
I had a choice, I could either wait and film it next year or do it now. After the success of my premiere and remembering that I actually can write music pretty well when I put some effort into it, I decided f*** it, now or never.
All while this is going on, I’m working on all those words I wrote down in my word cloud and trying to get to my purpose. I’m trying to be healthier and get back to my diet and my morning workout
This brings me to lesson #2.
Why my purpose is important.
Overall, this month I felt great. I felt motivated. I was getting things done. I was making all these documents to help get my videos completed and it was working. I was back on my diet and back exercising. I completed the 100ab Challenge from POP Pilates. I was meditating and journaling. I don’t do that; I don’t journal! Now I journal! I’m like a different person!
I discovered and learned just how good it felt to be working toward that purpose. That it was something to be incredibly grateful for, to fight for. It was around this time that I was listening to books like Chin-Ning Chu’s “The Art of War for Women” and Elizabeth Gilbert’s, “Big Magic.”
I was starting to understand the “why” of why I was working so hard to reach this purpose.
But then, I hit pause on everything.
I put aside all my progress for the sake of the big music video. Actually it was like 5 videos all shot simultaneously but it was a huge project and I went all in. I was up until 1/2/3/4am trying to finish. I poured every ounce of energy I had into this video and I wracked my brain to find solutions to the many problems I encountered.
And when it was all done, when the “Publish button” was pressed and I finally could say I was done, I waited and watched as the number of views sat at like… 2.
As I sat there, reconsidering everything, doubting myself, wondering why I put all this effort into something that only I cared that much about, I grew more and more depressed again. It was like all the progress I’d made in the previous three weeks never happened and I was back to being the doubtful, timid little girl who didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up.
I tried to forget about it. I tried to move on. I tried to remind myself that it was only the beginning.
Then about a week ago, my husband had to leave for work on a business trip. It was going to just be me in my house, alone with my pets and with all of my thoughts.
I made a commitment to get back to the grind, to the routine, to the schedule.
I was making dinner one night and watching YouTube when I decided then and there: “I think it’s finally time for me to investigate that Casey Neistat person”.
So, enter Casey Neistat and his dedication to telling “the story.”
The first thing I watched was about his publicly perceived “insane schedule”. I didn’t find it that insane. In fact, I’m lucky enough that it’s basically the schedule I’d been trying to adopt for months. But this time, I saw the example of how it worked for someone else.
And then it started working for me.
I heard him talk about not needing motivation because the only thing between him and what he wanted was just a whole lot of work.
I needed to hear that then and there because I realized I was taking all of this stuff wayyyy too seriously and that I should just follow his and Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice and just MAKE THE THING and keep making the thing and keep getting my body into the best shape so I could make the thing better and keep my studio and my life and my schedule in a way that could just help me make the thing better and that ultimately the thing wasn’t the most important work of my life and that it’s really only the beginning because I have a whole lot more things to make and a whole lot more work to do before I’m really going to feel like I’ve accomplished the dream so if things don’t work out right away, that’s ok.
So I got back to work. I started working for me, and for the sake of the work I loved doing.
And that brings me to my final lesson of January 2019.
How I’m going to find my purpose and achieve my goals.
In short, I’m going to work really hard.
It’s not because I’m trying to achieve an overnight success, or because I’m determined to be a miserable artist suffering for the sake of my own creation, but because the only thing standing between me and the life I want is just a lot of hard work. It’s that simple. Everything else is noise.
Why am I doing the work?
To be happy. To have a good, fulfilling, passionate, long life that I can share with the people closest to me.
Why am I making the thing?
Because I love making the thing and I’m trying to get better and make my best effort every time I want to share something with you.
How am I going to get there?
A daily, never ending effort to achieve a paradoxical balance in all aspects of my life and to get better and better at creating things that I’m proud of just for the sake of creating them.