Changing seasons. Ending chapters and starting new ones. Closing doors, saying goodbyes, and breathing in new air. All things that simultaneously bring tears to my eyes and spark a flutter of excitement in my heart. And so, 2023 marches on. As I mentioned in my last blog, summer started off a little rough. Turns out it's actually ending a little rough too, but more on that later.
For the past 25 years or so, our family has had a celebration of sorts, in late August. It usually coincides with the beginning of the school year, which happens to be my favorite time of year. The saying goodbye to summer and welcoming everything that says "Autumn." I absolutely love it. Our celebration usually involves some kind of remembering and some kind of vision casting for the year ahead. My kids have tolerated my approach to this gathering and the trinkets I distribute so they can be reminded of what we've discussed. Bless 'em, all.
As I prepared for our annual family gathering a couple weeks ago, I was struck by the fact that every single one of us is in a season of tremendous change. Like, big, BIG change. Personal, professional, residential, etc. All of us, facing some really huge stuff. I thought about how life would look very different for Perry and me, and wanted to impress upon our kids the importance of staying connected as a family, even in the face of the distance between us. Life might be taking us in different directions, but I wanted them to know that our home would forever be a safe place for them to come back to, if ever they need one. I gave everyone a compass charm for their key chain, necklace, whatever, to remind them of the importance of knowing their True North, and how they can always find their way home, regardless of circumstances or choices, no explanation needed.
As for myself, being someone who loves tradition, change can be difficult for me. And yet, knowing change is inevitable, I have done my best to embrace it and see the good. This August is no different. For the past several years, I spent my days working for a public school in a job for which I continue to be incredibly grateful. It provided for my family financially. I got to be with my kids. I even got to work for my kid for a while. The job was a gift beyond measure during my cancer treatment, for so many reasons. However, over the past year, it became clear it would be best for me to move on from that position and dive deeper into other work that both allowed me to operate out of my strengths, and was a better fit for my overall health. Leaving my position has been painful, but I have no doubt it was the right decision. I'll continue to substitute teach occasionally and help as needed.
Now, my days are mostly spent writing, coaching creatives, and working as an events coordinator/artist in residence/production coordinator for our local community theater. My personal mission statement is: To do creative work that engages, inspires, equips, and mobilizes others to do their creative work. It feels good to be in a season where all my days point in the direction of that calling. If you follow me at all, you'll likely see some rebranding as I continue to clarify what it is that I actually do and what I offer to the world. I'm a bit giddy thinking about it. So stay tuned...
I'd like to tell you my cancer story is over, but the reality is, the fallout from my cancer diagnosis will likely always be a part of my story. There is NO cancer to be found in my body currently, and for that I am SO grateful. And honestly, all the other stuff I have to deal with pales in comparison to knowing cancer cells are actively present. But for almost three years, the results of chemo, radiation, surgeries, and medications, has meant I've had at least one appointment every week relating to this journey I never wanted to be on. This past year, it's been mostly lab work, physical therapy, and dealing with infections that have continued to plague me. In light of what the first year of this journey looked like, these last couple of years have been a breeze. I won't go into all the details, but after fighting these infections and my hospitalization in May, I decided to undergo another surgery, which I'm praying will bring me a few steps closer to being the healthiest possible version of myself. Surgery happened last week so I've been home recovering and prepping for a new season of life.
In many ways, I feel more inspired and more creative than ever. I think being more certain of your True North will do that to a person. I certainly feel a sense of urgency, and I am over-the-freakin'-moon about some of the projects I'm currently working on. It takes a certain amount of ego to believe what you're working on is worth putting out into the world for all to see, and like any creative, I struggle with notion of ego playing a role in my creative pursuits. But it is what it is. If I don't believe in what I'm doing and the importance of giving my work the audience it deserves, why do the work at all? The thing is, I DO believe that what I'm doing matters, and has the potential to impose something of value on those who receive it. So I make no apologies for the work I will be telling you about, pleading with you to watch, listen, and enjoy, and in some circumstances, support. Just know I will always do it from a place of deep conviction, trusting you with the art I offer, whatever form that might take.
So, here's to seasons. To change. To doing the work. To knowing your True North. To not giving up. To redeeming the days. Because we never know how many of those days we will be given, and I, for one, plan to keep putting one creative foot in front of the other for as long as I possibly can.