So what am I doing differently since Bootcamp? I’m taking time to celebrate and be happy. I know it sounds cheesy and superfluous, but it is something that I’ve allowed myself to struggle with far too long. It is an interesting predicament to be an artist in the 21st century. We have so much information available to us, we are inundated all day every day with status updates, blogs, news, videos, voicemails, text messages, emails, tweets… you name it… we can have it… in an instant. Because we have access to so much information, it seems like the gold standard for success has become overnight achievement. And it seems more frequent that I hear a friend who I think has a lot of great things happening in their life lament on the lack of work available to them or the superfluous amount of rejection they feel coming their way.
This prompted me to look at my life and circumstances and wonder if I, too, am missing opportunities to celebrate my own successes. How about that job we finally book after months of auditioning, practicing, and whining about not getting any work. How many times do we decide that “This is the job that’s really going get me out of my rut and get me noticed. Now EVERYONE is going to know how great I am!”, only to have our fantasy destroyed by everyone else on the project who doesn’t live up to our expectations? Why is it so often in the midst of successes we seem to be able to more easily identify with failures?
That’s when it hit me. This struggle is about my desire for completion as if it’s some race that needs to be won and people who win faster than others get some sort of super prize of fulfillment. Why is it I don’t acknowledge my successes unless I feel like I really deserve to feel good about them? This feeling that I might cash in too early on happiness and contentment and it won’t be there for me when I finally need it. And when I put it like that, I realize the absurdity of using fantasies and external validation to determine my level of happiness.
So what am I doing? I’m taking time to write down small victories and really giving myself permission to celebrate them. I’m also placing less pressure on myself to ‘hurry up and be really successful already’. I am reminding myself that I am EXACTLY where I need to be to learn and grow. I know that if I don’t take the time to be happy and celebrate now, that I will never take the time to do it. I’m trying to learn to trust that working SMARTER (happier) is better than working harder. It’s not easy, and I’m not always successful. But I am finding that each day is a little bit happier, and for that I am grateful.
“Art is the set of wings to carry you out of your own entanglement” Joseph Campbell
– Amanda McAllister