It simply doesn’t feel like the end of a year. It feels like just another day. Granted, I am certainly looking forward to calling 2002 over and done and getting on with 2003.
2002 was an incredibly odd year for me. I worked at best job I’ve ever had in January and February. Since the layoff on February 28, I’ve been unemployed or, as I’ve been calling it, “an unplanned sabbatical”. I’ve been living on what I can earn from unemployment, from selling junk on eBay, from answering phones part-time, and from selling my art.
So where did the year go?
• I’ve job hunted steadily. I’ve freelanced intermittently.
• I’ve turned my art hobby into the seedling of a small business.
• I’ve done some independent study in art history and art technique.
• I’ve caught up on my sleep, I’ve kept up with my yoga classes, I’ve taken up walking, and I’ve lost a few pounds.
• I’ve weaned myself off all my meds (except an occasional pseudofed or naproxin).
• I’ve read a few good books I’ve been wanting to read and re-read a few I’ve loved for years.
• I spent time with Mike and his kids.
• I’ve learned to live with less and on less, and started selling off my excess stuff on eBay.
• I’ve contemplated my navel. (omphaloskepsis ahm-fuh-loh-SKEP-sis (noun): contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation)
Yesterday I uploaded my professional resume to the job sites. Today, I wrote my “Artist Resume” and updated my website. During 2002, I did two book covers, one juried art show, one solo art exhibit, and 20 other genre art shows. I won an award for Best Amateur Horror at ConStellationXXI, Huntsville AL. And at least one person has tracked me down via the Internet and asked to buy my art. I’ve researched my niche market, learned the rules of engagement, lined up reliable suppliers, developed a “just in time” production system, and penetrated the market. I’ve made new friends via the online artist’s community and I’ve learned quite a bit from the “pros” in the field by networking with them by email and chat. Already for 2003, I’ve been invited to participate in a show at Harvard University, I’ll be participating in one, perhaps two, juried shows, and I’ve lined up five other shows in January alone.
For all of that, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything. Like so many others, I define my self and my self-worth by what I do for a living. I don’t like living with this big gap in my professional resume. And I don’t like living without health insurance. Mike says this is my chance to do what I love. But you know, I love what I was doing in marketing communications. I love what I’m doing now, too, but I miss the regular paycheck.
So tonight, New Year’s Eve, we’ll have potato soup (my grandmother’s recipe) and drink some type of toast in honor of the new year. Tomorrow, New Year’s Day, I’ll have the traditional Southern New Year’s meal of pork, collards, black-eyed peas, and rice to bring good luck and good fortune in 2003.
And then on Thursday, it’s back to the work of getting a job and pimping my art.