May 16, 2012

How to make a Huge, Important, Scary Change in Your Life

*** This was originally posted at catlander. More posts from there will likely end up here. I'm sorry if it's a little confusing for a little while, but things will smooth out and get a little more cohesive soon. ***

Step One - Determine what the change needs to be.

I need:
-to have a smaller, quieter life
-to walk a little softer
-to gain self-sustainability
-to not have roommates, to live alone
-to be actively involved in my community
-to be actively involved in an inspiring arts scene
-to do work that I love
-to be closer to nature

Step Two - Research your options for making the change a reality.

My lease on this apartment ends on June 30th. My job is transient. 
These two points were pretty impact-ful; but when I realized that all the "stability" in my life was actually base-less, I didn't stress out. Or rather, I totally stressed out, but in a sort-of-productive way. I didn't focus on the lack of stability, but on the incredible and overwhelming array of OPTIONS I'd discovered.
EVERYTHING was possible.

Step Three - When a particular option really resonates with you, pick that one.
Part of my research was talking to my partner, who recommended a little town called Almonte. 
It's out of the city by about 20 minutes, there's a river, a mill, some rapids. It has a grocery store, a hardware store, a drug store, parks, boardwalks, art galleries, studios, and the rent (if you can find available apartments) is affordable enough that I could afford to live alone. 
There are a ton of little shops and restaurants where I could sell the stuff I make, or work (hooray for a hefty span of dishwashing on my resume!). And in area covered, it's actually bigger than all of Centretown, where I’ve been sequestered in hibernation for the last year. 
Best of all, everything I’ve read suggests that the people who live there love their community. I'm craving some community involvement in my life, the freedom to easily fall in love with my neighborhood, and create a home (or a nest) for myself. There are a hundred boards and committees (oh, Canada) that I can work with. There are activities and groups that feel accessible, even online, that will enable me to connect with my neighbors. 
These are all qualities that line up with the changes I needed to make. And they resonate.

Step Four - Research this particular option further.

This is where I discovered the video-game magic of Google Street View. I spent about 4 hours one night "walking" the streets of my prospective new neighborhood. And I like the look of it. Then I spent 2 nights reading everything I could find online about Life in Almonte. And I like the look of all that, too. 
I found about half-a-dozen viable options for employment, a few available (affordable) apartments. 
This is where I decided it's In Fact a good idea - it makes sense and feels good. It gives me the things I need. 

Step Five - Procrastinate

This can (and did) take the form of writing about it, talking about it, sleeping on it, thinking about it, or just waiting and being patient. 
I've been horrendously (yes, horrendously) productive in all the day-to-day stuff I usually put off: housework, creating, reading, writing, seeing my friends.. but not actually contacting anyone. Passivity rules. But it doesn't git 'er done. 
Just Wednesday, I had an attack of guilt and disappointment about not having done anything yet. I went and hung out with some friends, told them what my hangups were, what I wanted my approach to be, and what I wanted to achieve, and inside of an hour, I had a direction. Now, 2 days later, I have about 15 blog posts started (this is the first), everything that's been trapped inside my head down on paper, a few emails sent, and renewed motivation. 
Just because you're not doing anything doesn't mean you're not getting anywhere.

Step Six - Quit procrastinating. Take Action.

2012 is Joy Campbell's Year of Action. A couple years ago, someone said to me, kind of disparagingly, "Well, Joy, you're hardly a do-er." And I thought about that for a long time (is that irony?), and finally, just this February, decided maybe I could be a do-er. 
I'm still learning. About fear and vulnerability, about finding balance, about excitement and passion, and about always-changing wants and needs and goals and dreams. 

I want to not only be the star, but the director of my own life. 



I’m not going to apologize for my absence around these parts over the last couple of years. But by way of explanation, though, I offer this: I became a philosopher. My brain has been taken over by making new Ideas and Concepts, and finding new, better ways to communicate these things. What writing I’ve been doing since this new development has mostly been at,or in my notes on facebook, or in email form. 

Things have really changed in my life since the last time I paid any attention to this blog. 

I’m now wibbly-wobbling at the edge of a pretty big jump: I’m leaving the city to find a quieter, slower, softer life in a little town called Almonte. All, somehow, in the next 2 weeks or so. 

This blog is also in transition. It’s going to move from being strictly (restrictively) about making crafts, in a direction that I feel is more holistic - to become a blog about Making a Difference. 

I’ll talk about my move, my new town, my art and crafts, the things I think about and talk about with my friends. I hope to get some good discussions going about the Interconnectedness of Everything. And about the idea of Making Things. Different.