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[personal profile] catling42
What is a goal, anyway? Does it have to be something concrete? Because I’d say my number one goal is to learn how to be okay -- how to be happy and self-contained. Happy in a self-contained way? Not that I’m denying my exuberance in any way, but that I shouldn’t need anyone or anything else to be able to be happy. I know goals are supposed to be easier to achieve with concrete steps and the like, but we’ll get there.

I am, right now, what I’ve just decided to call “in-betweening.” I’m in between homes (which sounds much, much more comfortable than the “homeless” I’ve been using in my panic for the last few weeks), staying in a friend’s house while I apartment-hunt with my new soon-to-be roommate in a city an hour away. I’m in between jobs, finishing up one while I interview for another. In-betweening has always been something very, VERY uncomfortable for me -- I am most comfortable and least anxious with my stuff around and a plan in place, and here I am with no idea where I’m living or working, all my stuff in storage save a suitcase, my laptop, best-sleeping pillows, and probably too many books. So you can just imagine, these last few months coming up to my in-betweening time, trying to make all the pieces of the living situation and workplace puzzle fit together and, how I’ve been thinking of it until now, failing miserablly, has been incredibly stressful. We’re talking Cat-the-anxiety-case, freaking-out-and-crying stressful.

At the same time, I managed to take an absolutely wonderful week-long trip by myself to England, to see some dear friends and ex-housemates get married, and to get to experience the country. With this, everything fell into place -- my dad had frequent flier miles I could use, for the cost of the taxes and fees (flying out of Heathrow is exorbitant!). My friend who lives in London this year happily offered to let me crash in his flat. And housing in Cambridge for the wedding was taken care of by the bride’s family. So off I went, got my passport renewed with my changed (four years ago!) first name, booked plane tickets and left the country with two weeks left before I was out of the apartment. And it was completely amazing.

The wedding was small and beautiful, and I knew no one but the couple and some of the bride’s family. The accommodations and seating done in such a way that guests just had to talk to a variety of people from different parts of the bride and groom’s lives and make friends from all over. My time was largely unscheduled -- I was free to roam Cambridge, and then London, seeing what interested me and spending time with friends when they were available if I felt like it. I wandered. A lot. I talked to strangers, played pick-up ping pong in a park along the South Embankment of the Thames, made friends with a five-year-old girl on the Tube (we counted trains out the window). I saw a couple museum-y things, but didn’t stress about fitting it all in. I forgot how much I enjoy travelling alone, especially when there’s someone friendly around to make a few plans with. I have learned, at least, how to Maintain A Holiday Attitude when I am travelling. I would like to learn how to do so in the rest of my life.

Anyway, I’m sitting here in my friend’s beautiful suburban back yard, looking up into the woods that abut parkland and listening to the (baby?) redtail hawks skree and not needing to drink a cider or eat ice cream, but enjoying my simple cup of tea and letting myself just be. And I decide to open up my Reeder on my phone and scroll through a few blogs I’ve been neglecting instead of just reading webcomics, and here I am, reading The Minimalists and No Help Here (you’re always just ahead of me, Sarah) and thinking that maybe in-betweening isn’t actually such a bad thing after all. It’s another two weeks to a month of living out of a suitcase. It’s probably best that I’m piggybacking off of travelling; living out of a suitcase is much more familiar and less threatening. And even though I can’t deal with getting rid of actual stuff anymore, since its all tightly packed into an overflowing storage unit I’m afraid to look at for fear of it exploding, maybe I can deal with getting rid of stuff in my head that holds me back. Maybe then I’ll be more ready to get rid of physical stuff once I can access it. Maybe I’ll have dissolved some excuses (but most of it is art supplies, who knows when I might need them! my style cycles every two-to-three years! I’ve been living with someone who has so much stuff I need to have something so my presence isn’t erased by his!). And to be fair, I did start getting rid of stuff before moving it all to the storage unit, and over the last few years, but those excuses are crap, and the possibility of moving into a large apartment also shouldn’t factor in.

So what do we have? Me, feeling really content, sitting in a lawn chair in the shade in a beautifully-manicured backyard and listening to hawks and cars go by and thinking that maybe life isn’t all that difficult, after all. And maybe it doesn’t matter if I don’t get THE job, because it probably doesn’t pay enough anyway, and there will be other awesome jobs. And will find a place to live, and I am surrounded by good people who want to help. And that is what’s actually important, isn’t it?

Date: 2012-08-03 07:33 pm (UTC)
jagienka: (road trip)
From: [personal profile] jagienka

how to Maintain A Holiday Attitude when I am travelling. I would like to learn how to do so in the rest of my life.

Probably the best advice I ever got from my spiritual director was that I needed to learn to live my life the way I road trip / vacation. Still haven't mastered that. (And fail royally sometimes). But it's worth repeating.

AKA: don't sweat the small stuff. It's all small stuff.

Date: 2012-08-08 02:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
nd there will be other awesome jobs. And will find a place to live, and I am surrounded by good people who want to help. And that is what’s actually important, isn’t it?

yes. Also: *hug!*

P.s., if gamification is your thing, you may want to take a gander at [ profile] faerieboots is using it, and she seems to like it. She could tell you more, I'm just her sidekick for the process. (I'd be happy to sidekick it for you, too, if you decided to give it a go.)
Edited Date: 2012-08-08 02:36 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-08-09 11:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You know in the world of animation where I live in-betweening is a very important skill to master.

You see, before studios started all their silly outsourcing, they would go out into the world and hire young, bright, creative men and women who had a desire to better themselves, and would offer them jobs as in-betweeners.

In-betweening was where you learned how to find your place. You would try out different styles, different techniques, always working with the guidance of those animators who had already gone through this and moved on to the next level.

Some people found they were good at seeing the potential in things and went on to be colorists, filling simple line drawings with a myriad of colors, giving them depth and context.

Others found they were good at finding order within chaos. Looking at a drawing where the key artist had used 500 lightly shaded lines, and knowing which one was the right one for the final image and they worked as line cleaners. Giving the animation a smooth and polished look.

Other's were destined to lead, they became key animators. They took the risks, made funny faces in mirrors, and boldly set down the first images on the page that others would follow to make a complete story.

In-betweening is scary at first. You're new to it, you're worried you can't cut it, things sometimes seem to all go horribly wrong and you don't see how you'll ever get your pages done on time. But as you work on it and grow comfortable with it, in--betweening becomes easier. You learn the skills you need, find your own style, get to know the people that you need to know, and eventually figure out which path you want to take.

So as you've glimpsed, in-betweening is scary, but it's just because it's your first step toward a huge world of possibility. A lot of us are still in the in-between phase. There are some natural artists out there who move up the ladder quickly and get to where they're going with seemingly little effort. But then there are those of us, who aren't gifted with natural skill. So we work longer and harder, and some day we'll get there too.

I'm still in the in-betweening department with you my friend. So at least you know that while you're struggling to hone your craft, you've got plenty of people on either side of you working on the same thing, and willing to go out with you after work and complain about our days. =)


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