Friday, February 2, 2018

To be more experiential in 2018...

Wow, January has already left! Yep, just like that.

A couple of days ago, I was weary that this means I have already spent some 31 days at my work area. And me focusing on that aspect of my craft (the time spent) felt wrong. So I asked, really, should I continue operating in that perspective? I have started asking this question because of something I encountered months ago. While leisurely browsing through my Instagram feed, I came across a post from one of my favorite miniature artists. She talked about her love for the craft, and how it gave her joy through the years. In that same post though, she was also saying that she may not anymore be producing as much items for her shop as her time is now consumed mainly by her other more commercially successful endeavors.

I totally get her. Self-employed crafters are often the most hardworking people in the world, but necessarily not the better compensated section of the workforce. We love our craft too much that sometimes at the end of the day, we only cared about the process, the questions being answered by the process, or that we don't have cares at all. We forget to allot the essential time of studying pricing, marketing, and all that uneventful admin lot. We get sucked into the craft that we lose sight of the trading part of the whole business. We then realize that all the work did not produce the sales needed to sustain the craft.

This falling in love with our craft, isn't necessarily bad at all, as I pondered lately, in the grand scheme of things. It's even ideal - in a crafter's dream world, that is.

But like I said, I understand her deeply. Being a part of this society, I always worry about the numbers. And to make sure I have enough funds in the bank, I plan my year, months, weeks and days, even my hours out such that no time is wasted. It will then be a relief if I ticked all the boxes for the day. But on days when I would miss some to-do's, I automatically wallow in this self-destructive feeling of worthlessness. Then I'd feel my entire body holding tightly. I breathe less as I try to think through my mess because this means I had to steal some time off the succeeding day, and if I'm not lucky/industrious enough (wow - industrious! Never used that word since grade school!), I might also eat into the next few days and eventually ruin my week's schedule. If this not-so desirable situation becomes more frequent, it gets even more chaotic.

For a couple of days now, I tried to process this worry thing and it came to me that the root cause of all this madness is one of the biggest fears I have had since childhood. I feared it so much that I'd rather stress unto things, than actually live that fearful moment. I was raised in a household where not earning enough was a total no-no. I fear so much the possibility of becoming the person that never earned enough. That person was given the bad rep despite being awesome in other life aspects. That person is no good, nobody should want to be like him, that was the message. In the eyes of a child, everything around her is magnified, that there's only two options in life - to be or not to be. I guess that became my own demon that I carried through adulthood.

But, wait, don't think of this post as another one of my sad observations in life. It's quite the opposite. In fact, I am so lighthearted right now as I type this post. Thank goodness I gave two days to just really dig into this hole.

I then decided to make it different this year. No more worrying too much. I probably just need a bit of it as a reminder. I will have to accept that there will be days of unsuccessful prototyping. There will be days when I'd be sick and can't work. There will be days when I just want to lazy around and do other things that I love, and some days being away from my table to attend to family matters. I will take these frozen days in a more experiential manner. The operative word there is experiential.

Remember when we were children and everything we do is plainly experiential? We jump and run around, we eat, drink; we do things for the sake of doing them. We act because acting itself is what matters most - it answers our silly little questions! There's no meaning or purpose that we expect from the act. Life was awesome.

Before I start talking about the time when we started ruining that kind of life, which I can talk about for hours, too, let's hold on to that lighthearted feeling I mentioned earlier, shall we?

This year, I want to see through the lens of the experiential. I'll let go of preconceived notions, meanings, purposes, plans. Sure, there will be a list, but I will avoid going into the details of it. I'll probably ditch the details of my 2018 plan. Maybe a monthly goal will suffice. And a monthly goal is something that comprises two things - one that is egotistic and the other, the non-negotiable egoistic. The egotistic part will serve the capitalistic world that I am a part of, and then the egoistic is that super essential thing that should mostly take my time. But there's a catch. I'll make sure that the egotistical part is easy to tackle, because really, why fuss about it? When challenge is low, it becomes experiential. And since the egoistic part is a free-style zone, it will always be experiential. I'll be more experiential in this setup. Maybe so, maybe not - I'll just have to take in what the moment offers.

'Til next time, friends!