... a blog to make sense of the world through writing and acts of creativity, to reflect on and respond to the crazy world in which we live. Can beauty, creativity, compassion, and activism emerge from this tension?
I have a tendency to doubt myself. (One of my creative heroes, Gavin Aung Than, just posted a new comic, The Calling, about artistic self-doubt.) Whenever something is going well, I draw a shadow around it, and ask, "But is this okay? Should I be doing something else?" In this case, I'm asking, should I be "working?" I retired early knowing that I am healthy and intended to work somehow or other to bolster my cash flow. So, that has been on my mind.
My pension is significantly less than my full-time pay. Yet, I feel so blessed to have a pension. All those years of not making much money as a teacher now pays off in the pension. It's not as if it's "free" money. It was invested for me during the 22 years I was a State of Hawaii employee. I also have annuities that I started when I turned 40. (DO IT, those of you who don't have one yet. Get automatic deductions from your pay check and you won't even feel it.) And when I turn 62, I'll have social security, if I choose to start at that time.
Since I do love to travel, I would need to generate more income to have more of those experiences in the future. There are also unexpected expenses that come up (car, dentist). So there is a need to generate income.
But here is what my life looks like. I wake up when I wake up and that seems to be after 7-8 hours. (Yay for sleep!) I have my coffee and breakfast and read the paper. On Mondays, I'll do both crossword puzzles (easiest of the week), and the other days, I'll attempt one. I finish that about 9:00 - 9:30. I then go into my "studio" and work on whatever project I have made my priority. I wrote my play, Pulani, into a rhyming story and now I am working on illustrating it. Around 1:00, I get hungry for lunch and after lunch I will either continue the project, sketch, play guitar, read email and other online surfing, or do chores. I have to make a conscious effort to do chores. Some days, when I feel the need, I give myself days off and go to the beach, or go walking, or sketching away from the house. If other things come up, like appointments, lunch dates, or tango classes, I fit them in at will.
I have always wanted to have "work" that was not like work; that is, it is so natural and flowing, even if it involved effort (like drawing now), it didn't feel like work. This is the life I have now and I love it. Now, will I generate income from it, as in a business? I don't know, but I will put it out to the universe. I definitely don't want to write just to make money. I am not that desperate for money. I am desperate to do my thing, to finish my writing projects, to express myself, and to share with anyone who is interested. If I can make money somehow, then that would help me to continue to live this creative life. That entrepreneurial drive is weak in me, but I am open to the possibilities that may ensue.
Diane Aoki is a writer who explores other modes of creativity as her intuition leads her.