Coffee in the Denver skyline mug, "In Without Knocking" by Mission Mountain Woodband on iTunes (I'll go in without knockin' to the first saloon I see in this town. Been in the saddle thirty days, oh, Montana bound. This ain't no time to be polite, I may be spoilin' for a fight. I'll be raisin' hell and drinkin' whiskey down. So come on in without" knockin', stay till the last dollar's down."). My father's 80th birthday is 30 days from today and I have FINALLY hammered down the details for his surprise party in Montana. Today I put together the invitation and send it out to everyone.
What does this have to do with a day in the glass studio? The glass artist is a whole person--as is everyone else. It's naive to think we can compartmentalize our lives into set time and function slots and make it all work (the home slot, the work slot, the spouse/partner/parent slots). I am simultaneously a glass artist writing the web portion of an article for the upcoming issue of Profitable Glass magazine, a child planning the party of a parent, and a friend recovering from a night of spontaneous waitressing and bartending for a friend in her restaurant--that's a story for Stranded in the South--and those are all different slots. What about all the roles/tasks we have to juggle at the same time in each slot? I have a carpenter and an assistant to organize and supervise today in the studio (the employer role of the glass artist slot), I have pieces to create and fire, the aforementioned article to write, the firing schedule to update.... the list just goes on for the glass artist slot (and all the other slots). Throw the knife, catch the knife, throw the knife, catch the knife.
So where am I going with all this? Is it bothering me? Am I complaining that this is what life has turned out to be? Not a bit of it! I am consumed with joy at the full richness that is my life at 47. I was a better waitress last night than I was 20 years ago when it was my regular job, and the reason I was better is that I more mentally flexible and adaptable than I was 20 years ago. I am more confident of myself, my abilities, and my skills. I never once got flustered last night, and I truly jumped into the middle of the deep end with no paddle. The water was just fine.
I believe I was able to work as I did last night because I keep my life and my time fluid. I don't have a work slot that goes everyday from 9:00 to 5:00 followed by a home slot. I work as much and wherever as it takes to get each job done, and the importance of each job in each slot is constantly evaluated and re-prioritized as necessary so that the musts do get done when they need to, some nice to haves get accomplished, and many things are left for later. there is never--and will never be--enough time to get to everything in the in-box and happiness comes from realizing and accepting that one, hard fact of life. The slots and their jobs rise and fall in the hierarchy of importance, and their flow ensures the balance of my life and my ability to surmount new challenges with grace and verve.
Enough writing about working, it's time to actually work.