Moving from a salaried career to living the art life meant structuring myself with an evolving set of manifestos, schematics, and principles–all very entertaining to look back on. Now, from a process perspective, the enterprise boils down to one mandate: finish what I start.
But I still struggle with purpose. Who is my audience? What is my legacy? Why do I keep reorganizing my photographs, my journals, my web pages, my fabric closet, my collectibles catalog, my beads? What will all this matter when my old brain finally blinks out?
I’m putting a new twist on purpose for the moment. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Since I am so not “in the world” anymore, I’m considering a new guiding principle: BE THE PERSON YOU WANT TO SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WITH.”
I’m really my own audience. I do things because they reflect the life I want to lead, once stated as “graceful life, adventurously led.” Susan likes things organized. Susan likes beauty, symmetry, a well-composed photograph, a cleverly crafted sentence, labels on boxes. She like to research things. I enjoy her company. I’d like her to keep me entertained as the years go by.
Back in my salaried career, I found myself supervising a lot of people and over the long haul realized I wasn’t a very good mentor, but was a pretty decent role model. “I got no advice for you, kid. Just watch me.”
So, be like Susan. Get a kick out of yourself.