The beginning of November marked one year since I left my job and wandered into the world of making it on my own.
I gave up eight years of forward momentum in an organization, building a program and building my career all just to start at zero again. I was fine with the idea of making less money, but I didn’t think about the impact moving away from a conventional career would have on my ego.
Somehow, even a year later, I’m feeling guilty about keeping a slower pace. I fill a full-time schedule with income-producing writing or production projects each week, but it’s nothing compared with the 50+ hours I used to work, plus events, a 10-day Festival and being firmly connected to my computer every night and each weekend. Now I have my nights and weekends back and, while I love every minute of them, I also fret about spending free time relaxing and enjoying what I have. Part of me still feels like I should be kept occupied each moment by someone or something else. I spent so many years confusing my success in life with my success at work that this year, though a welcome change of pace, has kind of battered my emotions. I’m learning lots of things about who I am and I don’t love everything about me.
But with a really successful year of grant writing behind me and brand new knowledge about the fashion industry, I’m not ready to let my bruised ego force me back into the conventional path. As I embark on year two there are a lot of new, great projects I’m already looking forward to. And I’m placing renewed focus on finding my place so I can live well in it.
The planet does not need more ‘successful’ people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.
This photo was taken in the Great Smoky Mountains this October on the first fall vacation I’ve been able to take in eight years. That’s peace.