I've felt for a long time like I'm living two lives at once, and they're in a dead sprint to see who wins the title of the Real Me. There's the "work" me, running around from 9-5 spewing factoids about fantastical nutrients and the nature of one's bowels; talking politics and conspiracy theories during the off moments; giving advice (both wanted and invasively otherwise) because "look, I've been there and I know what you're going through;" and in general conveying a sense of Responsible Human Being With Maybe A Hint Of Crazy.
And then there's the life that I live outside the clock, in which I spend hours staring into space as though it has the answers; beating my head against a wall over problems I can't for the life of me figure out how to solve; painting because for all the know-it-all I claim to be I'm still just as lost as everyone else sometimes; and writing because when my head gets too clogged it feels like the only place to lay all those words to rest.
I'm getting pretty tired of the two butting heads. I've known I wanted to be an artist for a long time. I knew I wanted it to be my career path when I just happened to be in Milan for an Egon Schiele exhibit and found myself getting lightheaded and tingly as I read his story; when Lucien Freud just happened to have his retrospective on display in Paris the week I was there; when I just happened to be given a Jenny Saville book the in first weeks I started painting for myself again.
I've also known, for as long as I could find my conscience, that I would never be able to pursue a career that did not make my heart sing. The second I dropped out of college I knew it was because I wanted something different than a piece of paper could give me, and it was likely that I would have to make it up as I went along. I knew that my life was up to me create, and it would be full of mistakes and backtracking and new and incredible discoveries around each turn. I knew what I was getting myself into.
But like I said, I'm getting pretty tired. I love my job, and I love my work. But as the agonizingly impatient being that I am, I am anxiously awaiting the day when those two cross paths. For when all that I work the day job in order to do finally become the day job -- with elements of both stirred up in some crazy life stew of pure joy.
I know that the journey is the destination. Blah blah, cliche cliche. But don't you ever get caught up in waiting for that moment that feels like arrival? Who else is stewing a pot on the back burner, waiting to serve it up as the main course of your life? What is it that you would be doing for both pleasure and pay, if you had the choice?
I'm slowly inching my way there. I'm taking my time, biding my progress. I'm trying to enjoy the lesson that each moment teaches me. And occasionally to not think about it so much, too. But sometimes I just want to scream at the mirror and ask, "ARE WE THERE YET??"