We are having our house painted. It’s been years since we did so I don’t remember the specifics I needed to know to have the work done. I tell myself, being a makeup artist, I am very good with picking color. But then again a house is much bigger than a face. Last time I was dead on but this time I wanted something different. Something more alive. Something not like other homes I have seen in the neighborhood. No, I didn’t go fire engine red but I did go a tad out of my comfort zone.
Color is a very strong word in so many ways. It can describe a canvas, a mood, an emotion or well, a color. We know all of the obvious. Red for anger, green for envy or jealous, black for death but also for chic, yellow for sunny and happy and white for pure. But then there are the hundreds of shades in between which makes choices tricky. More grey can change the color of green completely.
That’s where my house comes into view. I thought that small chip I was choosing was more grey but in fact I chose something more dynamic. Brighter and high reflective. Not what I was looking for in my house. The green I thought was grey green was more, well, sage. Sage green. Lost sleep over whether I had wasted my money painting the house the wrong color.
Then I realized that in my life I am trying to be brighter and more reflective. I can’t say I’m trying to be more dynamic. That would be absurd and silly in thinking that my choice of a house color is reflecting how I want to live my life. Is that possible? That deep down I want to break from the safe and tried? Could it be as simple but as profound as a house color?
As I sit here smiling at the sheer absurdity of it all I actually wonder if this is a shift in where I have been for awhile. How I’ve felt incredibly stuck and uncreative. Boring. Complacent. Not wanting to move from where I sit. Having a hard time finding excitement in my work and my life. It has seemed so predictable. It has been safe. And in order to find happiness one must find the uncertainty they are comfortable with to move ahead and make their life exciting. Yep, put more color in their life. In my life.
So as I listen to Breathe sung by Alexi Murdoch I need to not forget to breathe. Take that breath and jump in. The blueness of the water, the lush green of the trees, the white purity of the clouds and the red of the sunset will suit me just fine.
Recently I went to Costco. I had gotten a deal on a membership so thought I would give it a shot. Figured early Sunday morning would be my best bet as I don’t like crowds and wanted it to be as painless as possible. I didn’t know what I would find there but always like looking.
Finding a parking space is like winning the lottery in a place that large but I happened to get lucky and found myself inside at the membership counter. Usually there would be a line but today I walked right up to the counter. The woman who helped me could not have been more helpful and friendly. Well, I thought, this is pretty painless so far but was waiting for the ball to drop once I got into the store.
I was looking for a new phone and happened on a kiosk that was selling what I needed. “Can’t imagine I’ll get it here” I said to myself but again thought I’d try my luck. And once again the gentleman that helped me was funny and very knowledgeable. Even his name, Frankie, was down home.
With phone in hand I proceeded to do my shopping being assisted as if I was in a small town store. Everyone seemed to be there just for me. But I also believe that my attitude made a tremendous difference. I knew it was going to take time but I resigned myself to take it step by step. I didn’t have a specific schedule so I didn’t feel anxious to be anywhere else.
At the check out I had a lovely discussion with the cashier about the best way to water orchids as I was in the process of buying one. He wanted to purchase one for his wife but was afraid he didn’t know how to take care of it. He was so thankful for the information as he wanted to surprise her. Here was a store the size of Costco that could actually be that personable. But then again I reached out and received back what everyone wants…a bit of kindness.
When I was growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio we use to go to the local “pony keg” which today would be the Seven Eleven. We’d always stopped off on our walk home from school to get some candy and conversation with the family who own it. Next door was a bakery own by a Swedish family that had settled there and brought with them their amazing delicacies. They were part of the neighborhood and even today it still brings back memories of a childhood long gone.
And that brings me back to Costco. With all of the mom and pop stores seeming to fade I realized standing in Costco that as much as I missed the small establishments I could still have the same small town girl in me. That there are people out there with the same beliefs that I have. They work hard and want to show good customer service. It doesn’t always happen. There are those days that it seems like that doesn’t exist. But if I’m really honest with myself I haven’t brought my best customer attitude with me on those days.
What I do notice is that when I start up a genuine and positive conversation the bulk of the time, like the bulk items in Costco, I receive a genuine and positive response back.
I have to admit recently I have been struggling with my life and what I am planning to do. I have gotten to an age where I have done one thing for a long time. I am grateful for the places it has taken me and the opportunity to be creative. It’s been a great way to make a very nice living.
I am looking for another outlet to keep me motivated and excited which will not replace the work I am doing but enhance it. There’s only so many conversations you can have about the “business” and all the changes it is going through. It is definitely not like it use to be in the way that it seemed more of a community. I don’t think it is just in my business. I think it is the world in general. A lot of times the conversations on sets are about the tax incentives and when or if the jobs will come back to California. People are hoping that this new bill will give California a chance to claim some of it’s glory and jobs back.
In recent years a lot of the business has gone to other locations leaving many people here out of work. I don’t know if it’s because I have been in the business a long time but it seems many people are panicking over their future. I have also heard conversations that seem identical to mine in other professions. I notice there are more small businesses trying to make their way among the big world of conglomerates. Their worries are very much like my own. There are countless articles about how someone started in their kitchen and now own 15 restaurants. Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it possible for everyone? I don’t think so. The articles don’t go into how many countless hours went into being so successful. And that success is based mostly on how much money has been made. We can talk about passion and freedom and blah, blah, blah. But that freedom is a lot of times not so free. I now think my freedom is about how much time is really mine.
I was driving to work the other day through a park. I was listening to beautiful music on the radio and the sun was streaming through the trees. For the moment I was incredibly happy. I actually started to cry at the beauty. Before I would have thought that silly. But now those times are so fleeting that I was happy for the release. If only for that brief moment. I wanted to continue my drive but arrived at my destination and I was back in work mode.
My head starts to spin when I look at all of the businesses and ideas and articles about making it on your own. I did have a small business on the side and it sucked the life right out of me. It also hurt me in many other ways that were much more personal and long lasting. It is very hard for me to trust like I did in the past but I’m working on getting back to basics. And this is where transparency becomes so important to me.
I don’t think it is voicing my opinion on every topic but I do believe it is being more transparent with what I want out of life NOW. I need to try to stifle the voice in my head that tells me I have to always keep busy. Which in my mind is to work and make money to support my way of life.
If I am really transparent with myself, I need to look at the fact that I am restless and down right confused. Basically, I’m scared. I’m scared for those days when I will have the time to enjoy the beauty of that park but will be too tired or not healthy enough because I have pushed too much.
Bali is going to be wonderful, eye opening and challenging for my mind and my spirit. I have refused work for the month of November which is difficult for me as work has always been my security. Let’s hope some or even all becomes crystal clear what my next move will be in this sometimes not so transparent world.