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Where to direct my creative energies now?

I've always been a collector of future projects. Everything, simply everything, looked like it might be fun to do something with down the road. Fabric I might need to start quilting again someday, frames that might fit future paintings, yarn in case I took up knitting, etc. etc. Not to mention all the painting and drawing supplies that I've hoarded along the way. No, I'm not really a hoarder. I regularly give away materials, there is some order to what I do keep on hand just in case, and I still like doing art projects like collage that are aided by having a nice collection of random materials to work with.

So, it's been fun. But it's over.

Many of you know that I am moving. Not sure who I've told details to but, suffice to say, it's into a smaller space in a city filled with creative energy. The move is happening sooner than I planned because things are flowing fast around me toward it. Earlier I had visions of drifting peacefully down the river toward that end but now I'm caught up in a fast moving current (caused by me probably having sold my house before I even listed it and now it's only being just a little over a month before I have to leave.) So I'm sorting and sifting through what I take with me, or not.

Here's how I'm making decisions around that.

First of all I'm 70 years old this year. And, while I intend to live happily into a much riper old age, I know I don't have enough time left to delve into all my "future projects" even if I spent every day of the rest of my life trying to. So, I'm freeing myself by giving most of them away. Gave away the kiln, the wood and linoleum printmaking supplies, the fabric, the sewing machine, the books (except for a few favorites), the frames, etc, etc..

I kept only materials for painting and drawing and writing and a flute and ukulele. That's it. And it feels great. Each time I picked up something in order to decide if I was keeping it or giving it away, I asked myself if I wanted to spend my "future" on it (akin to the popular movement where you ask if something brings you joy or not).

There was one place I had some difficulty doing this. History. How important was it to keep record of everything I've done? Awards, writings, photos, etc. Your answer might be different than mine but the question of my willingness to spend my future time on it helped me decide.

No, I don't want to spend my future organizing all my old photos and making new albums or maybe even a slide show about the past for my grandkids or future great grandkids so they will know who I was. I want to draw and paint and write in present tense and keep having new experiences to paint and write about - keep living life and sharing my present day moments (my future) with those I love. I doubt I could have just discarded those things so thank heavens my granddaughter is young and ambitious enough about preserving the past that she is willing to take them and not make me decide what to otherwise do with them.

I'm taking about a tenth of what I've been living with. And I have plans to purge through that too once I get where I'm going and can see what is useful and what is not.

Then, while I was sifting through DIVA materials (I legally have to keep the business records for a while), I came across these (and many more) self portraits that people drew at our self-service portrait station. It made me pause because they are such a delightful memory of what was. Keep them? Don't keep them? Do something with them in the future?

In the end, I took a photo of each of them and stored them electronically rather than in another box to move or keep. I still might not ever do anything more with them other than smile when I see them but it does make me happy to remember this even happened.

What are you taking into your future?

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