Sunday, May 3, 2009

Jumping Off The Cliff Without A Parachute

Natura Morta
Giorgio Morandi
1929

Lately I have been feeling as if I am at a crossroads in my life. All the things that were once familiar and safe now feel stale and monotonous. It's time for some major changes. I am wearing a groove -- a rut, as it were -- in the routine of my life. I go to work, I come home; I go to work, I come home... It's often easier, however, to stay with the familiar and safe, rather than to take that step over the precipice into something new and exciting. Sometimes we need a shove.

In 21st Century North America, we are directed to live a certain way in order to have certain lives. We work, we go home; we work, we go home. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have jobs and homes don't want to question the ennui that can sometimes set in. "Is this all there is?"

Some of us taken up hobbies or volunteer work, to augment our lives and give back to the community. But we learn that being busy does not always equate to fulfillment. There is still that little voice inside us -- questioning -- what if... Many of us have been gifted -- blessed -- with talents we either don't realize we have, or have never perfected. There is that secret place inside us that wishes we could have been a skilled musician playing wonderful piano concertos in Carnegie Hall, or a painter exhibiting in the Louvre or the MoMA, or a chef in a five-star restaurant ... or whatever. But, most of us learn at an early age that in order to live our lives, we must learn to live practically. We must be practical. We are afraid -- terrified -- to jump off that precipice into the unknown.

Go to work, come home; go to work, come home.

The Blue Vase
Giorgio Morandi
1920

A journalist named Katharine Whitehorn once said "Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it." That should be the first thing taught to all children, the moment they learn to read. But, you know, it's never too late. If you are feeling dissatisfaction with your life -- change it. I admire people who have the courage to say, "This isn't working for me." I wish I could be one of them. I think, however, we all have an instinct to keep ourselves safe, so we stay with the tried and true -- just in case that parachute doesn't open when we jump off the cliff.

28 comments:

pilgrimchick said...

I agree with how you're feeling--the idea that "is this all there is?" If people were truly encouraged to do what they love, I think we would be at a lack of insurance salesmen out there, rather than our being overrun with them.

Jo said...

Pilgrimchick, oh yes -- not to disparage insurance salesmen, but that is a perfect example. I wonder how many insurance salesmen really have a hidden talent they don't know about?

Hilary said...

Your talents are very much in the forefront.. nothing hiding there. Perhaps you need to focus on painting more than you have?

Jo said...

Hilary, yes. That's why I have posted the paintings of Giorgio Morandi. These paintings inspire me. Now -- where is my parachute? *heh*

Hilary said...

Right over there.... it look suspiciously like an easel. ;)

Leah Fry said...

Well said, as always.

greenpanda said...

I agree. Right now I'm deciding what career path to take....................... :/

A human kind of human said...

I am at the same crossroad in my life. I would love to just break away from all responsibilities and do my own thing. However, I am in no position to do that at present, or even in the future as far as I can see. So please Jo, go ahead and do it for both of us... and the thousands of other women who are sitting in the same place I am in.

If I sounded over the top, please forgive me; I really needed that bit of a whine.

Jo said...

Hilary, *chuckle* Yes, and a paint box. :-)

Leah, thank you. :-)

Greenpanda, you are young enough yet to find out what you love to do, and to get paid for it. Do it!

A Human... no, you are not whining at all! You are expressing what probably 75% of everyone feels.

Maureen said...

The trick is balance. Having just found a job I really like after being unemployed and completely broke but very busy doing art and photography (and blogging), I am happy to be working again but I do miss having my time to myself. Just set aside a chunk of time that is yours and stick to it. Have you read The Artist's Way or A Room Of One's Own?

Kathy's Klothesline said...

That is pretty much where I was until we decided to buy this campground...... I don't know if this was the right choice, but it certainly is different. I still don't think my husband and I- as a unit- have found exactly what we want. I am pretty content, while he is not. Fatigue is a major factor, too. See, when I am tired; I ramble!

jackc50 said...

ah to do what you love, what you want and not what you have to.....its always been a dream. to discover the talent that lies inside each of us is truly the key to life....jack c

jackc50 said...

ah to do what you love, what you want and not what you have to.....its always been a dream. to discover the talent that lies inside each of us is truly the key to life....jack c

Jo said...

Maureen, yes, the grass is always greener, isn't it? When we work full-time, we wish we had more time off. I'm glad you are working again, at something you are happy with. No I have never read either of those books, but thank you for suggesting them!

Kathy, when I read your blog, and your stories of your life, I think what an interesting life you have! I would love to be doing what you do. :-) It's all relative, isn't it?

tinkerbell the bipolar faery said...

Authenticity ~ the self wants it, but still their is some internal resistance to that concept ...

Jo said...

Tinkerbell, yes, we spend a lifetime trying to figure out just who (whom?) we are, don't we?

Paula Slade said...

Believe it or not the "parachute" always opens when you need it. Sometimes it has a few holes in it, and you may have a rough landing, or get a few bumps and bruises, but you always survive and can walk away.

Jo said...

Paula, that's just the good news I need to hear! I am mustering up all my courage to jump. :-)

Leslie: said...

One...two...three....


JUMP!

I'll catch ya~

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Very inspirational, Jo. But who can I find to pay me for "goofing around"? How about pay me to write a blog? Yah!

Jo said...

Leslie, yes! Here I go...!

LGS, *heh* wouldn't that be wonderful if we could spend our days blogging, painting, reading, and just generally goofing around!?

Miss_Nobody said...

Encouraging,thanks jo! :)

Canarybird said...

I'm one of the lucky ones who jumped and the parachute opened ever so softly. I came to a foreign country alone with two small children and $125 to my name and now I spend my days reading, painting, blogging and watching the birds at my window. It often pays to jump! I seem to have had a host of guardian angels and have been very lucky.

Carla said...

I've jumped off of a cliff several times now. And each time, my parachute had some holes in it. So here I am...battered, bored and barely getting by. But I'm lucky to be alive and living in a gorgeous place. If I had to do it all over again, I'd probably take the same risks. You have talents I can only dream of. And probably a lot more common sense than I have. Good luck!

Forgotten Katalyst said...

Your comment about insurance salesmen made me laugh, because I actually work in insurance sales and am terribly understimulated. LOL

There is safety in numbers though, isn't there? So many of us feel that we have to remain "responsible to our lives" and not rock the boat. You know that I am in a place in my life where I too am considering drastic changes.

Best of luck to us both. But as my mom says, "Sometimes you just have to take the leap and learn to build your wings on the way down".

Deb said...

your posts always make me think...I like that...

Book pusher said...

My partner I made the jump, we both walked away for successful careers, in Gary's case a fairly senior position in the government sector. Initially things did not go as planned and G ended up doing very much the same work on contract. He gave it all up to accept a job running IT for a high school, and I went back to uni, and took a part time job, neither of us regrets what we did. I enjoy what I do so much, somedays I can't believe people pay me to do it, I would do it nothing. We did lose a lot of our savings due to changes of plan, holes in the parachute, but it did work in the end and we are both happier doing what we love. I'm all in favour of making the jump, just plan as best you can. I agree totally that we should teach kids to find what they love and find a way to earn a living from it, they deserve to be happy and that does'nt always equal being rich. Great post.

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