I am currently working my way through Julia Cameron’s newest Artist’s Way series, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again – a program specifically targeted to help those in midlife discover creativity and meaning.
This week I focused on chapter four: Reigniting a Sense of Purpose.
I continue to follow the four cornerstones of the program:
- Daily hand-written Morning Pages (wrote all 7 days)
- Weekly solo Artist Dates (reconnected with my love of scrapbooking)
- Two 20-minute solo walks per week (I did walk the Basset every day)
- Ten weekly Memoir prompts (this week focusing on ages 16-20)
This was an emotional roller coaster time in my life. I experienced extreme highs (being part of a student exchange group to France; going away to college; meeting my husband-to-be) – as well as devasting lows (I lost two groups of friends in high school which cemented my life-long fear of rejection).
While discovering my life’s purpose is important to me now (almost an obsession) … I wasn’t sure it was a blip on my radar during my late teen years. But in answering this week’s memoir questions I (re)discovered some buried passions.
This week’s writing prompts:
- Describe your major relationships during this period.
- Where did you live?
- What creative ideas called to you? Did you follow these callings?
- Describe a sound from this time – what are the emotions associated with it?
- Describe a taste – can you revisit this taste today?
- Describe a smell.
- Were there callings you tried and then abandoned?
- Did you have dreams, questions, or impulses about your greater purpose during this time?
- What was a source of joy for you during this time?
- What other memories from this time period feel significant?
Now I will be honest here… I didn’t make it past question 3.
At first, I was taken aback by the word “calling” Perhaps because other synonyms for the word include mission and lifework (and interestingly, antonyms include fun, entertainment, and pastime). With such lofty (and serious) undertones, no wonder my mind went blank.
But then I chose to use Julia Cameron’s definition: many worthy callings could be defined as ‘committed interest’. Now the floodgates opened.
I started with my “committed interests” of elementary school and brainstormed through the current day. Without going into great detail, here is a partial list of my life’s callings:
- become a foreign exchange student to France
- become a teacher and lead other students to France
- become a stewardess (flight attendant) and travel the world
- music performance (flute)
- needlework (mainly counted cross-stitch)
- baking (mostly desserts which led to Molly’s Muffins)
- cake decorating
- catering (mostly appetizers and desserts)
- photography (mostly nature and learning to see the joy in the ordinary)
- writing (blogging as well as non-fiction and Middle-Grade fiction)
- scrapbooking (leaving a legacy)
I could easily write a blog post for each of these bullet points (and how they either came true or why I abandoned them) … but I will save that for another day.
Today I want to share a snippet of my memoir entry:
I’ve loved to scrapbook since 1997. I love the creative expression as well as the practicality of organizing boxes of hidden photos. Even more than that, I am drawn to tell the story behind the picture. It is the perfect intersection of so many other interests: photography – writing – preserving family memories to leave as a legacy for future generations.
Why don’t I enjoy it more often?! It is almost as if I can’t allow myself to scrapbook unless I have a deadline to meet (a gift) or it is a monetary means to an end.
How silly?! I AM allowed to pursue my God-given interests whether they produce an income or not. This week’s Artist Date is Scrapbooking!
And I did scrapbook. All day Saturday. With a really good friend. We talked, we ate, and we preserved our family stories in a fun, creative way. I had a blast!
How naive I’ve been all these years. I assumed life’s purpose demanded serious work for financial gain. I thought it meant sacrificing pleasurable pastimes for productive jobs. It never occurred to me the two could be intertwined into one joyous calling.
You’re never too long to learn valuable life lessons.