Inspired by Lem’s previous post, I was examining how despite the fact that I’ve chosen an unconventional path and made some decisions that many people would consider counter intuitive, I have been moving forward steadily by a series of detours and seeming back tracks. I may not measure up to the general societal norm for success. I do not own a house, I don’t have a car, I’m not married and I have no children. I don’t even have a pet. I do not fit the traditional white picket fence, spouse, 2.5 kids and a dog model.
For more than a decade I have been working in an industry that had a serious downturn just as I was beginning my career. Film is recently seeing a resurgence in my city and I’m reaping the benefits somewhat. I’ve become accustomed to scrimping, living well below the poverty line, having anxiety attacks just buying groceries. I accepted this as part of being an “artist”, but it didn’t make it any easier. Every step forward somehow seemed to be matched with some sort of step back.
Thanks to a few lucky moments, I’m finally feeling a bit of an up-swing in my career. I am in a position where buying dinner, groceries, and even supporting other artists through buying their prints and CDs is no longer an angsty situation. My friend recently asked me how it felt… it feels pretty great.
But it’s not just a financial issue. I’m learning that my professional reputation is solid. That when someone mentions my work they say things like “I don’t know what I would have done without her”. I’ve been called a mentor, a good assistant, and a great boss. When someone works for me once, they will happily do so again, even going so far as to turn down other work in favour of my job offer. I am some people’s go-to hire of choice.
I have a fantastic little apartment. It’s not perfect, but it’s mine. I may not own it, but it is my home. I’m making my first little herb garden in a window, and slowly collecting furnishings (and the above mentioned art!). I live alone. I like it that way… for now at least. I’m happy having my own space. And yes, I’m single and not overly worried that I haven’t found “the one”. I’m experimenting with not buying into the prevailing “wisdom” that unless coupled up, human beings are essentially lonely and unhappy… “unfinished” even. I don’t need to be completed. I’m not quite finished yet, but I’m pretty sure the only one who can complete the process is me.
These are small measures of my personal success.