Thursday 7 November 2013

Being grateful

If you know me well, you'll know it's been an up and down 18 months or so in my life. I try not to be sanctimonious and over-sharing online about this (in person, I'm probably quite often both) but I have learnt a lot about the importance - and occasional difficulty - of understanding and accepting what makes you happy, and then working with great intent to live your life according to that knowledge.*

I'm such a lucky person. I have my dream job. It demands a great deal from me. I never stop feeling like there is more I need to know, need to understand, need to do. I never stop having ideas, and I never feel like I'll be able to deliver on half of them. I get tired, cranky and emotional, and I work really hard to stop that flowing over. But every speck of energy I put into this job I get back from it, and pretty much every week there's a moment when I walk into the galleries and something small yet amazing moves me close to tears.

That doesn't mean I don't often feel like I'm drowning in expectations and obligations and duties. And often when I sit down with someone and they ask "How's it all going?", the first response I give is an exhausted sigh, before I gather up my enthusiasm and try to recount some of the good stuff.

So yesterday morning at work I did something so sensible that I am kicking myself for not thinking of it sooner. I gave myself three hours off answering the hard emails and writing the hard documents and returning the phone calls and I just let myself do the things that make me happy. I trailed a school group around, and I checked out what our after school programme has been up to, and I researched a couple of leads for a show we're developing for next year, and I did a bunch of tickling on a little project I'm running that I'm excited about, and I tweeted vociferously on my own and the work account on different topics, and I relentessly promoted the job I've currently got open, and I remembered why this is all so great. I would highly recommend it. In fact, one of the things I did was send an email to a couple of special people about what I was doing, and suggest they do the same.

As an example of what I got up to, here's a series of tweets from The Dowse account:

It's only when I sat down to write this that I realised how unintentionally pat this all is. Making the decision when I walked in the door to divert from my office to the creative workshop and see those kids' work, which is all about being grateful, changed my whole morning and my whole mindset. So I'm going to risk being all sanctimonious and over-sharey here, because seriously - this is the most powerful thing I've done in a long time, and I don't care how cheesy or nutty it sounds. The joy was worth it.

*That sentence makes me cringe but I've learned the really hard way that it's true for me.

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