Yesterday, I was taking care of the horses when, totally unprompted, I received the sweetest horse kiss and affection from Django. I realized how happy I was in that moment and I also realized how seldom I feel that way any more and I suddenly asked myself, why?
I've talked before about the vast difference I felt between how some people have perceived my life and what the reality actually was. It's always been this way and the sad part is, the life they imagined I lived was the one I so desired. The life of the artist, living with the animals she loves and a husband who is both loving a supportive, while creating wonderful whimsical, spirit lifting art and constantly happy. That person would find the time each day to wander out the door and explore the outdoors or just spend time with her horses or walking with her dog. That person would always be cheerful and happy. Sigh............. Instead, I've spent most of my life feeling miserable because I couldn't live up to that standard. I was too busy, too covered up with things that had to be done to have any fun, any joy in my life. Somehow though, I was always behind, no matter how hard I worked. Somehow, I was always in debt and worried about money not matter how many ways I tried to make money. Somehow, there was never time for my horses, my dog, my husband, myself but I had time for others...others who sadly not only didn't appreciate my efforts but were ready to turn on me at the least infraction, the tiniest breaking of the rules that they'd established and I doggedly followed.
So, that has been my life.......at least until yesterday's epiphany brought on by the touch of a gentle, fuzzy muzzle. I suddenly realize that I actually already possessed all of the elements that make up that happy artist's life described above. All it took was a different mindset and a decision to do what makes me happy. Your state of mind isn't determined by what you earn or what you owe, what you own, where you live or what you wear, how educated or successful or popular you are. None of those things determine whether you are happy or miserable because either is a conscious choice.
So, I realized three things and made three decisions based on those epiphanies: 1) whether I'm happy or miserable is a choice so I choose happy, 2) worry never accomplished anything and neither does a list so I've reevaluated my goals, my expectations and my daily list, and finally 3) doing something I hate to try and make money wasn't making me any more money or paying off my debts any faster than doing something I love. I can be broke and miserable or broke and happy but either way, I'm still in debt and broke so I might as well be happy!
And speaking of that last thing, as many know I started doing "people" photography this year in an effort to make some extra cash. Well, aside from the fact that I still haven't been paid for the last wedding I shot, I literally hated every moment of it. It makes me so nervous that I actually get physically ill before every shoot....especially weddings. And by the time you add in all of the hours editing and fooling with clients who keep changing their minds and not paying, I made practically zilch. But that is still dwelling on the money thing when what I want to talk about is the happiness thing. I felt as if God or the universe was trying to tell me something. It seemed that everyone was asking me the same thing, "Do you enjoy doing that?" Even total strangers, when asking what I did, would add the question. Not only had they never asked that about any other creative endeavor of mine but they never asked me if I made money at it only was I happy doing it. My dear friend Candis passed away on September 5th. Two weeks before she passed, she asked me, "Do you enjoy photographing people?" I honestly told her, "No, I don't . I actually hate it. I dread every time I have to do it." "Well then," she asked, "Why are you doing it?" She added, "At our age, Sande, we shouldn't be doing anything that we do not enjoy, anything that doesn't bring us extreme pleasure and satisfaction. Life is too precious." She told me this when her own life was no longer measured in years but in hours and yet, it has taken over three months for her message to soak through my thick skull.
This week, I finally started doing something I've been intending to do for over a year, I started making jewelry. I put up a hand carved bracelet on my facebook page on Monday night and on Tuesday, I sold four! That may not sound like a lot to anyone else, basically a little less than $100 made in one day once Etsy and PayPal get their cuts especially since I still have to make the bracelets but to me, that's the most I've made in a day in quite a while....certainly this entire year. And it isn't just that great response, it's that I'm getting paid to do something I love doing again. So, in a year full of epiphanies, this was a big one. I feel like I've taken another road in my life and it's a beautiful journey.