To be or not to be. That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler to protect the newly dug garden patch from the digging chickens, thus taking on the identity of the crazy new neighbor, or to go back to the longing of my youth – to be that California surfer girl. That is the question. Or at least one of the many that now face me.
There are other questions as well. Moving to a new place gives everyone a chance to change who they are, become more of who they are or want to be, or even build new dreams, living with the energy that can come from following your heart. Steve Jobs, in his now widely circulated Stanford Commencement Address, took this idea further saying, “follow your heart and intuition: everything else is secondary.” His passing made me realize how much the world has changed because of the inventive creativity that drove his life.
I was asked the other day in a meeting, “what can you offer our team that only you can do?” What an amazing question to consider. We all know ourselves in a certain way – how we’ve grown up, where we’ve gone to school, the kinds of jobs we’ve found, the ways we’ve embraced a family and taken on responsibilities and set up our lives. Sometimes this way of knowing ourselves changes and sometimes it doesn’t. What’s clear for me is that I believe I follow my life and the call of my heart and that what I’ve learned over time is that I’ve developed my wrist (like Picasso said artists do) and the motion of that wrist draws the preferences for how I design my life. And now someone comes along and says, “tell me about how and where those shapes came from – I’d like to know so that we can make sure the work you do is built on the passion that drives you.”
West Coast surfer girl? Partially bilingual daughter of immigrant parents? Artist? Librarian? Writer? Indeed – and it looks like more is on the way.
Illustrated front cover from the Queenslander, 22 November 1934 by Garnet Agnew, State Library of Queensland