Maintaining a sense of purpose.
Ever had one of those days where you don't really know what to do? Sure, you go through the motions. Breakfast, shower, emails, second breakfast, exercise, Facebook etc. But you don't really have a feeling deep down that you're accomplishing anything. Nothing is driving you other than habits. There's no sense of purpose. This is not a common feeling for me, but I imagine there are probably people who go their entire lives without a sense of purpose. And then, even if you do find your purpose - it's just as hard to maintain it as it was to find it in the first place.
Today, I had no sense of purpose. I felt like a blob of useless goo. That's not to say I was unhappy or anything, it was more like if I did absolutely nothing today it wouldn't have any repercussions. I was not a necessary participant for the world to keep on spinning. Which is a pretty shitty feeling.
Generally, I have a lot of goals and lists of things to do. Things I'm working towards, things to get done to accomplish a larger outcome. If anything, I usually have too much on my plate! So much I want to do, so little time. Today was not one of those days. I looked at my to-do list for the week. There wasn't anything inspiring on there. No paintings to complete, no upcoming exhibitions to prepare for, no website updates, no installations, no urgent emails, no brainstorms... somehow I'd ended up hitting a wall. That's not to say I had no work to do - plenty of work to be done for other people. But nothing for myself.
I realised why this had happened - for the lat 10 months I'd been planning and prepping for my solo exhibition. Which is a big, fat, long sense of purpose that's been carrying me for that whole time. Not to mention the two other exhibitions I curated during those 10 months. Overlapping senses of purpose! Bonus. And suddenly they all ended at once. Stupidly, I hadn't foreseen this coming to a close and prepared for it. Usually I try to make sure the next thing starts before the other one ends, otherwise I lose momentum and get into a slump. I've tried to start a painting this week, but it hasn't been going well. Without an end game or intention, it's like I can't muster the care it takes to make it good.
As I was out on my walk, I realised how important it was to maintain a sense of purpose. An underlying commitment to making something happen for yourself. So, I made a mental list of the things I want out of life - and worked backwards from there. If I want this in the future... what can I do today to get a little closer to that? It helps to zoom out as far as you can, and them zoom back in. I zoomed out - one day I'd like to be a successful artist. I zoomed in - I should apply to some galleries for upcoming exhibitions. Easy. Done. By the time I'd gotten home from my walk, I had a list of things I wanted to do right now! I'd re-found my purpose. *phew*