Monday, July 12, 2010

About That Hobby...

Winter Storage 1

Hi. I'm back and if you don't mind, I'll continue with the thoughts on work and play, ego and identity. Where was I? Oh yea, I was struggling with how to monetize the knitting and then I saw that article in the New York Times....

About three years ago I started a new job at a large corporation. And you'll recall I noted the self help industry's implied message that I am a lesser human because I wasn't pursuing the THING. The livin' the dream thing. I took it to heart with the result that I was twisted in despair. I resisted the day job, convinced of a better life...somewhere else.

The despair pushed me to spend money and time with a coach and I took classes to gain a license. While knitting and spinning, I was also doing a ton of soul searching. That New York Times article arrived at an interesting moment in this time line, because I was about to take a serious leap. But then I didn't. For a ton of reasons, I didn't.

Around that time I had a conversation with a friend, an artist who has struggled all her adult life to earn a living and lives pretty much hand to mouth. The reality of that kind of living is, it consumes so much energy.

Anyway, she said, "You are so lucky. You have a job that pays the bills and that means you can pursue your knitting and spinning without all that pressure." A simple and obvious statement, but the way she said it and the tone of relief she expressed for me, was profound and I was ready to hear it. In that one moment, something shifted.

The shift has meant that I now embrace a very simple concept that I somehow missed in all that noise and psychic, manic energy. Please don't laugh too loud, but I finally realized and accepted that it's simply okay to have a hobby.

That is, having a hobby is valuable in and of itself. It makes a person interesting. It adds dimension to a human existence. A person can have a job, and have hobbies and be happy and well rounded. Fulfilled. Most important for me, it is liberating. Because there isn't the pressure to earn from what I love, I can love it even more. Without that pressure I can follow any path or or branch I want. No limits, no time constraint, no worry about making it work.

I know!! DUH. Really. Seriously. DUH!! Call me a "Sunday knitter" if you wish. I won't take offense, nor do I scorn the thought. My identity is that of knitter and spinner, and maybe soon, weaver. I identify with the hobbies and have a job, too.

Thank goodness I saw the light before it was too late.

The Tour de Fleece continues, and the yarn you see above is Hello Yarn Fiber Club, Winter Storage, 686 yards of DK/Worsted weight. It's a monster huge skein, 8 oz of fiber converted to yarn during the biggest heat wave to come along so far this year.


Gale said...

What a revelation. And I believe you are right.

margene said...

So well said. I read somewhere that accepting our lives as they are gives a greater sense of calmness. When we accept our love of knitting is better as an avocation we enjoy it fully.

margene said...

Oh and by the way. Your skein is beautiful! I hope you find just the right project to show it off.

Chris said...

That skein is absolutely gorgeous!

I completely understand where you're coming from. I have a fine arts undergrad, and in school you're pretty much considered a cop-out if you don't go on to eek out a meager existence based solely on your art. I then did a 2nd degree to give me a job that pays the bills now (but I don't love) and I keep thinking I need to find a way to make it work with a fiber-related income instead. But I know I'm not willing to risk it, either, and I think I can live with that.

Thanks for articulating this!

shansays said...

I, for one, love having money to pay for my hobby. I did enough of the "starving artist" lifestyle in my 20's. I don't miss sleeping on futons, drinking cheap beer, or eating ramen noodles. I like having cash for stash.

Big Hug,


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you found a balance! Personally, hobbies seem very freeing ... it means I can mess up or go off in a huff or start over or do any darn fool crazy ill-advised thing I want ... because it's fun, not work.
Your spinning, Sunday or not, is beautiful -- and I can't wait to see more of it!