No more teachers no more books….
Something extraordinary happened to me last weekend. Something happy, something sad, something filled with future plans and drenched in nostalgia and memories.
I quit my day job.
Well, actually I quit my day job in 2003, but last weekend I quit my other day job. I gave up my teaching gigs. No more Thursday or Saturday classes, no more Monday mornings at the Women’s University Club.
Sounds simple I know, but for me it was the result of almost a year’s worth of soul searching, observation, self-flaggelation and torment as I tried to balance what I would be gaining with what I would be giving up.
On the gain side: freedom from commitments, energy, more time for my own work, more time to focus on my health and family.
On the lose side: the richness that comes from giving of one’s self, the brain-work of putting my painting practices into words, the excitement over a student’s “Ah-HAH!” moment when a concept becomes clear, the pleasure of ringing the bell for finished paintings, and most of all, the camaraderie and friendship of the men and women who have entrusted their talents with me during the past ten years.
See why it wasn’t simple?
In the end my health won out as I realized that since my diagnosis last year with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer I have pretty much been in denial that there was anything I could actively do, short of following doctor’s orders and taking my meds, to slow the beast that threatens to take over my bones, and eventually, my life.
I can focus on getting myself in tip top “fighting” shape to battle this disease. That means losing weight, and strengthening my bones. Which means a certain commitment of time and energy to eating healthily and exercising.
And that’s what I’m going to do, dammit! I have to, for my own sake as well as the sake of my family and friends.
As I get healthier I will also work more on my own paintings, visit family more often, plus I have a few other projects up my sleeve. I will blog more and try to use this venue as a place to share my tips and tricks and more consistent painting-in-progress posts.
There ya have it. Big decision. I’m excited for the future and sad that I won’t see my fellow painters as often as I have in the past, but I will work hard to keep up with the friendships I have gained through teaching. Thank you to all of my former students – I’m a better person for having worked with you.