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Monday, February 22, 2010

searching for inspiration in quotation

"Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it."
- Buddha

"If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting."
- Katherine Hepburn    

This is the third post I've begun in the last three weeks; I hope to actually publish this one.  I've been having difficulty quieting my mind of worry and stress over my future and thus haven't been able to organize my thoughts into a coherent piece of writing.  Typically, writing helps me find clarity, but I suppose I've felt a bit more lost that usual.  For the last nine months, I've been living off meager earnings supplemented by my savings account.  In that time I worked on growing Sudstress and sent out numerous resumes, however I don't look so great on paper and need I mention the current job market?  So far I have managed to exhaust half of what it took me ten years to save.

After recently having to get my clutch replaced; my brakes, rotors and wheel bearings fixed; running up a $1,700 bill for an MRI of my knee which was neither diagnosed nor treated, I finally decided it was time to stop hemorrhaging my savings and I get a restaurant job.  While I'm excited at the prospect of a disposable income, which will be disposed directly into my saving's account, it's a bit of a blow to the ego and I feel like I've failed.  This is not where I pictured myself at 33.  In fact, I never had any picture of myself at 33 and therein lies the problem.  I don't want to be 43 facing the same dilemma.  I am aware of how fleeting time is and I'm feeling pressure to figure it all out and to figure it out now.

"You've got to jump off cliffs, all the time, and build your wings on the way down.
- Ray Bradbury

The last decade of having to work sometimes until 5 a.m.; a smoky environment; constant sober interaction with drunk people... it was starting to suck the life out of me, so I quit with no backup plan.  I took the 'leap and the net will appear' approach, trusting that everything would work out as it should, opportunities would arise and I would make a successful escape from the bar business.  Though it may feel like a step back, I acknowledge that it's not and that things could be much worse.  I am thankful that at least I have the option of having gainful employment and that there are plenty of people who are out of work and struggling.  The bottom line is that I want to do something more, I just don't know what that is.

 The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.
- Arnold Toynbee

Soapmaking has been a great passion of mine for the last five+ years and I have put so much of myself into Sudstress that I am in no way ready to say goodbye to it in this process of moving forward.  While I've managed to double my sales from 2008 to 2009, I'm nowhere near the numbers that could sustain me financially and I have to formulate a more effective and immediate plan.  For now, I will focus more on cultivating the customized wedding projects and less so on wholesale, as the latter requires tremendous inventory, time, space and volume with a much lower profit margin.

"He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying."
- Nietzsche
Since about the age of 25, I've spent a lot of energy trying to figure out how I could integrate earning a living with fulfilling work.  In the last year, I've really been digging deep trying to solve this puzzle to no avail.  Once I find a direction, I approximate at least three years before I'm able to enter into employment into whatever field after the necessary schooling or training.  I've waited this long, I feel like I could live with three years.  What causes me to lie awake at night is the fact that I've been at it for the last 8 years and feel no closer to figuring it out than I did when I began.  Sometimes it feels like I'm floundering with no end in sight.

"But" is a fence over which few leap.
- German proverb

Lately I've been contemplating going back to school for a Master's Degree in Psychology.  I remember when I was a kid expressing enthusiasm for the field and mentioned going to college for it when some irresponsible adult told me how cliche that was and how impossible it would be to find a job with a Bachelor's in Psychology.  For some reason, fear took hold and instead of the notion that with further education, a career in psychology was not only possible, but quite likely, and I gave up on the idea.  Ironically, I ended up with a B.A. in Film.

To play it safe is not to play.
- Robert Altman

I've realized lately that many of my choices have been made in the same manor.  Instead of moving toward something that could make me happy or satisfied or accomplished, I move away from that fear of possible failure.  That possibility lies everywhere and I have let that hold me back from creating the life I want.  That is how I believe I ended up in a place that honestly could be worse, but is ultimately not truly satisfying.  A few weeks ago, it was in this sort of vein that I made up my mind to move to California, get out of my rut and start myself on a new path ripe with hope and possibility.  The problem is, there are no quick fixes in this life and the necessity at the source of my confusion is the very thing that is holding me back: money.  So I feel that I'm back to square one in a town that while full of friends and familiarity, no longer suits me.  I want to leap but am bound by the very circumstance that I intend to change.

I am adopting the following phrase as my words to live by in hopes of affecting the decisions I make as ones that will move me towards happiness, fulfillment and some sense of peace.  I need big change and it is a challenge to find patience when it feels as though time is of the essence and my efforts have been thwarted by my own doing.  Perhaps I should move to Nepal and meditate indefinitely..

"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." -Carlos Casteneda


Anthony said...

Im on your side!

Joanna said...

I'm glad you shared. I feel so much like that, except I am 7 years your senior with 2 kids and a husband freelancing part time. not good.
This economy has been very bad for us.

You are so thoughtful. I think that at this point in your thought process, whatever you decide, you will be okay.


Anonymous said...

I think you will figure it out. It seems that those who expend effort to carve a path for themselves finally succeed.

It seems like alot of successful business owners try their hand at many failures before they hit it big.

It may seem difficult and dire sometimes when you cant see the future, but I suppose its better than the alternative.

For me, if I had given up, it would have been a salesperson hating every minute of it, talking about the past, when I lived as an artist.

You can do it. You can be anything. Opportunities come to those who work to make them appear. I srsly believe that. Unless you are retarded. Those rules dont apply if you are retarded... but you are not retarded XD

I dont know much about your business, but hearing about your wedding gig connections sounded like a great direction. People throw around money like Rhianna for that wedding bullcrap.

If you can double your sales, you can quadruple them. I believe you can do it.

As far as CA, its a nice place, theres alot of money here if you can get your foot in the door. But it is expensive here unless you live in the ghetto-y area. And taxes are a bitch. Still the weather is like... primo... but im a shut in again. so...

You can do it! ;j

Anne-Marie said...

Wow, you really summed up what a lot of thirty-somethings are probably thinking: is this where I expected my life to be right now?

I went on a walk with a friend this morning and she was having the same types of thoughts while trying to figure out her next move. I tell you this so you know that you are not alone in your searching and questioning.

I don't know your situation but reading through your post, it sounds like you are making the smart practical choice so you can give yourself some breathing room to decide what your next major step is.

Remember, small baby steps, taken daily, produce incredible results given enough time.

Sometimes, it's just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other in a repetitive manner that gets you through and past the next goal.

You can do it!

Artistspirit said...

I didn't know you like Carlos Casteneda, I have read all or most ly all of his books. I think the last 2 I haven't read. I still have them. I have put into pratice one day about finding your hands in your dreams. Thinking that it was not possible, I tried it but when it did happen to me, it freaked me out and I left his books alone.

I say all this is say that visualize once you are in California, what it would be like and etc. Would that make you happy? Happier than you are right now. Or is it the process of change that is the challege you seek?

I think that you will come up with your own answers if you focus on your goal.

And I agree with many of the comments and believe you will be fine.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kat,

I do wish you well as you make these decisions, and thank you for your openness for sharing your thoughts with us.

You sound so determined that I'm sure you'll find your way, but I can see that it's so hard to be objective about such important things. Perhaps a change of scene, taking yourself away from all familiar places/people for a short time will help you to gain some perspective?

All the best to you!

Ten Digit Creations said...


It's been awhile! You are never too old to start fresh. I know you say you are no closer than you were 8 years ago, but you have typed some GREAT quotes. So, I know you believe in yourself! Sometimes we have to go back to the basics to survive. Unfortunately, we live in a society that strives on money. If you ain't got it, you're very limited. You do have a background that can build that savings back up. You can attain your goals, but you have to remember you are in this for you, no one else. It's not your peers that you have to impress, it's not your parents, it's not your friends (or so called). It's YOU that you have to impress and make happy!!!

I wish you all the luck and juju needed to climb out of this rut! 33 is a number, that's it! We've been taught that it's sugnificant with our age, but it's not. You are as old as you feel and trust me, the older you get the less the number matters!!!

By the way, your writing style is excellent!!! :)


Anonymous said...

One foot in front of the other is how you will make it. Know that you can succeed and dont let anyone or anything hold you back...

Take it form someone who has been in your shoes and at 49 there are many time that I wish fear would have not been my biggest enemy...with out some failure there is nothing learned....