In November 2007 I posted about finding time for art. I am going to repeat that entry below, because it is something that is as relevent to me as ever. Perhaps more so, with social networking taking up more time than 2 or 3 years ago. So tell me, do you make your art your #1 priority, after self and family? Or is art right at the back of the line? It’s a choice we can each make every day… (I may put a couple of edits in – and will make sure it is clear they are changes form the original)
Do you ever stop and think and what your responsibilities are? And how best to juggle your time so you get things done and still have “art time” or “me time”. It’s a topic I often come back to.
I work full time as a librarian, study art by distance learning, publish a monthly community newspaper and Tony and I are Mum’s caregivers. Am I going to gripe about how busy I am? No way. I think that is one of the things we do wrong. People seem to play “I’m busier than you are” like it is some sort of game, and I think all it does it drain your energy. Accept you are busy and get on with it.
So how do I get art time? Well, for starters…I employ a housekeeper for 3 hours a week, someone comes and does the lawns once a fortnight, and someone else tames the gardens from time to time. (we now have a dishwasher as well, and all the laundry goes in the clothes dryer. Hey, it’s only a power bill, right?)
Due to serious health issues, the medical system provides a breakfast helper, lunchtime helper, and home delivered midday meal for Mum on weekdays. (We still have this level of support, for which I am grateful. I should also have said, my sister comes down once a month for the weekend, to visit Mum and help out. I love her to pieces.) That way I can go to work and not be worrying about whether she is okay, out of bed, had her breakfast and meds etc. Night time is my responsibility. Two days a week a rest home collects her for day care so she has some other company, and I pick her up on the way home from work. Weekends the care is up to Tony and I. So, we are getting a good level of help with Mum. Even though it can be really tiring, I am very grateful that we still have her with us; not everyone is so fortunate.
So, what else? I forgo television. Yep, that’s right. Except for the news, and some art programs, while Mum and Tony watch it while I head for my art room. I try to do other jobs in batches, like paying bills etc, rather than fluffing round endlessly with that sort of task. I try and relax about the state of the place; whilst clean enough and tidy enough, this is no show home.
In the end is comes down to – what would I rather do with this moment, these moments? This, that, or art. Unless my family wants or needs me, art wins most of the time. For me, it’s about knowing what my passion is and going for it heart and soul.
What do you choose most days?
The problem of getting to the studio is always there for me. I certainly do not have the time demands that you have and I’m impressed you manage to create at all. I work part time and I go to the gym but after that my time is unscheduled. I work better in large blocks of time rather than running downstairs for an hour . I also work better when I have a deadline. I truly believe art happens in my head a lot when I am outside the studio so I count that as time worked too. If I only have an hour, I prepare image transfers, or journal new ideas, or tidy up the studio. If i’m on a roll with a painting I will work for 8 to 10 hours in one day. I describe myself as a fits and starts artist!
I completely agree with you on the thing of everyone getting all embroiled in a “I’m busier than you” competition. I fully recognise that others have challenges that I do not, but I also think that busy-ness is also a choice for many, an evasion of dealing with the meaty stuff and risking solitude and what thoughts may arise.
I’ve been looking at this issue this week, recognising what I’ve got myself into and looking at how best to manage it. Like you say, passion is the key!