You’re the center and you’re always free
In every direction
This morning, while obsessing over Nicolas Jaar’s musical genius with S, I discovered he had his first album out at 21. TWENTY ONE. It’s no different for some of my other favourite artists like Stormzy and James Blake, in terms of being focused and prolific in their 20s. And I said to S, in shock, “HOW do they do it so young! I feel like my life has only begun at 32. I spent my 20s unconscioulsy figuring so much stuff out, and consciously putting the pieces together when I was closer to 30.”
And here I am today.
This is just me in a moment of happy. Doing what I love best these days. Sitting on the ground, in the sun, beneath a tree. Reading cards. Joining the dots. Soaking it up. And the satisfaction from it comes from holding the polarities — this as a route to reaching people in a way that fulfills and excites me, and this as a job that earns me my daily bread. I’m finally in a place where I don’t feel the need to shirk the value that money adds and why earning it from doing what I love is a very, very key piece in the do-what-you-love puzzle.
This has been a hardwon learning. I’ve had a meandering life path that flits and swings from one thing to another every few years, with every pursuit taking me in intensely, often makes me feel bad because I have little to show for “consistency” or “staying power”. I’ve baked for a living, cooked and food blogged, had a pretty serious stint in freelance journalism and feature writing, and also a significant number of years in advertising. At every point, each of these things felt like the thing I’d do for the rest of my life. And eventually the pressure to balance the practicality of how much I earned from it (to make it practically work) without compromising on how passionate I was and how much joy it brought me, killed the pursuit. I would always reach a point where I had to “ramp things up” to make it make sense economically, a point where I realised I couldn’t go on in quite the happy go lucky way that I had the privilege to. And it frightened me to the point of giving up, each time.
There was so much shame from having built so many things up form scratch, only to shut it all up every so often and go on to the next. Repeating the cycle all over again.
Will I ever be taken seriously? I wonder. Even now, I stutter a bit when people ask me what I do. When I realise they mean “for work” and not just “in life”.
But in the last couple of years, I’ve become comfortable with seeing myself as someone with multiple directions. Easily excited and intensely taken into multiple things that capture me. A completely new thing every so often.
And I ask myself often, “What’s wrong with that?”
When this squidggly trahectory prickles me, I ask, “What’s wrong with reinventing myself?” And I remind myself, “You’re allowed to change your mind, life path and choices, as many times as you need to.”
Because that is what it has been about. If I’m being completely honest, I know now where my commitment and perseverence shows up. I am actually very committed to, and very consistent with reinventing myself. With all the practice I’ve had I’m so much better at responding to inner calls that take me to different, divergent places, and not necessarily in one direction. And I’m getting better at letting the shame around that slip away.
I’ve only recently started to see, accept, appreciate and hold that as just the way my life flows. I build, break down, let go, move on and rebuild often. I dig deep within myself often. I stay interested a lot. This is my life, as it has come to me.