Not All Who Wander Are Lost?
"Why don't you settle down and do something with your life"? People will ask. I know I should have been doing this in my teen years or my early 20's. I'm going to be 34 next week and still have not found my one blossom in which will make me fully content with the life I choose. I'm always on a mission to find something more.....there has to be something more than just sleep, eat, and a typical 9-5 job. Right?It was author, J.R.R. Tolkien, that said, "Not all who wander are lost". But AM I lost? When you go out in the garden and observe the bees sucking the sweet nectar from the flowers they tend to flit from one blossom to the next. Then there is that one bee that is so satisfied with just one blossom because it is simply full of the juice that it needs to be completely content. I am not that one bee. I am the individual that wants to see everything and wants to be everything and wants to experience all of life's riches in one short life.
I am not complaining about my job in the grocery business, even though it is both physically and mentally taxing at times. But, what about the things that I would love to do if I weren't doing the "9-5" job? Is there time? Will I be well enough to do them when I retire? Can I retire? These questions keep on going around and around in my head to the point that the possibility of no "life" in the future scares the living sh*t out of me. I feel like I'm stuck in this system of existence....of passing time until I die. I don't want to simply exist. I want to LIVE! I want to suck the marrow out of life. I want to learn what there is to learn (books, music, culture) and see what there is to see!
I was talking to my dad just a few hours ago about the career life of a classical ballet dancer on how short of a span it is compared to someone who is in a corporate/service job. He says that they don't make much money from dancing and what do they fall back on once they retire? No. A dancer doesn't make much money from it. In fact there are ballet companies that are in dire need for money that they showcase their best dancers in fundraiser banquets so people with the deep pockets can sponsor them. But life isn't about money. It's the craft....the art.....the ability to put your blood, sweat, tears, and soul out there for all to see. To be able to transcend to a higher level of life with your art.
I've tried to find my passion. I've done ballet from ages 3-9. I've done music (from choir, band(s), concert piano, etc.) from ages 8-31. I've done music teaching from 18-31. Very little money was earned....if that. Maybe little snippets of passion was there.....But nothing felt complete. What did I need to do? I asked myself time and time again. I know I needed to make a "living"....or should I say an "existing" (an irony joke there). So I went into the grocery business 3 years ago (started off as a cashier and went to head clerk of my own department. I finally received a fulltime job with health insurance (finally! stability!). I have an IRA and 401K. So, I'm set. Right? If that's the case how come I still feel.....lost......?
Throughout my life of dancing, music, teaching, retail I always found myself semi-immersed (if not fully) in my own world with my own thoughts "what if's", fairytale endings, surrealism, "who done it's"......where I was in control of creating something that doesn't exist in the "real" world......I was in control of the outcome. Maybe that's it. I've had the keys to my own kingdom all along. Yes, a person does need to make a "living" (existing) but can still live through using the portal called imagination. The great artists did it. The 20th Century American composer, Charles Ives, did it. He was a insurance salesman by day and a composer by night.
I have my stability. Now it's time to give my imagination life.
Here are some quotes, from Charles Ives, that really speaks to my soul and really fits into this post:
"The fabric of existence weaves itself whole".
"You cannot set art off in a corner and hope for it to have vitality, reality, and substance".
Here is a line from the poem "Invictus" (Latin for undefeated) by William Earnest Henley:
"I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul".