It’s February, which, for me, means getting back to work. (In more ways than one.) I made a conscious decision to not produce online content throughout January. Infact during January I did a number of things that were completely novel for me. I actually went on a holiday. And what really struck me when I reflect upon that holiday is how much I actually wanted to create things. It’s funny because when I compare that with most of 2009, I would be sitting in my little home office scolding myself for not having done enough. I decided to resign from my dayjob and become a serious artist or a serious writer, or a serious… something. That was probably my mistake. I mean – don’t get me wrong, I became very serious indeed. (Some might say neurotic.) But I wasn’t producing very much. And despite my very open schedule I wasn’t having much fun either.
In the process of doing all of this I made myself quite isolated. My life lacks the kind of structure it had when I was working for someone else. I miss the social interaction of my coworkers. I don’t have a lot of friends here locally and – surprise, surprise – most of the time they are working anyway. I love the Internet’s ability to bring people together, people from all around the world. I love that you are not confined by your geographical reality. But even this is a double edged sword. And in some ways the things I love about social media are also the things I hate about it. It seems at times perversely unfair when you find a sincere and heartfelt connection with someone and can’t do something as seemingly straightforward as sit down and have a cup of coffee with them.
When I resigned from my job, I was tired. I was physically exhausted. My work life was consuming my entire life and I was feeling the effects. I knew I needed more balance in my life. But what I did didn’t create more balance. I just swung to the opposite end of the same spectrum. It was reactionary, I suppose, and equally unsatisfying. So that, more than anything in 2010, is what I’m after. Balance.
I seem to always be coming back to Julia Cameron’s work. It just seems to be something I can lean on when I am lost and fearful. She talks in terms of ‘artist dates’ – about making the time to do things you enjoy, to indulge your curiosity, to fill your artistic well. It seemed too easy to me. I didn’t think it would work or help. But in 2010 I’ve noted such a change within myself. There is a certain lightness and optimism that I secretly never thought I would feel again. And I can’t trace it back to any one thing. But, in a funny way, I can trace it back to a lot of things. I can trace it back to watching old television shows that remind me of my childhood – things like Alf and Full House. I can trace it back to that CD of traditional Chinese music that I bought in Sydney’s Chinatown from the musicians themselves who were performing there in the street on a starry night. I can trace it back to finally putting that paintbrush on the canvas and dragging it across the surface just to see what would happen. These are small indulgences that somehow inspire great personal change. They seem to make what had been a lacklustre life somehow shine again. They seem to make me think the world might be a magical place after all.