It’s a quite lazy Sunday evening, meaning that my parents and my dogs are sleeping, while my mind is racing at its usual 5,000 miles an hour and my body has on the the contrary next to no energy to move after yet another sleepless night. It’s an usual Sunday evening for me, because it’s been years since weekend nights meant going out. It’s not that I was really ever a regular party person, but still I knew how to “dress to impress” the world around me and make some nice social appearances. I remember that I particularly loved this time of year because the summer used to be my favorite season. I deliberately say “used to”, because right now I dislike each and every part of the year for different reasons and after all from an indoor perspective it all seems the same, but let’s stick to the old times tonight. The school duties or June exams would usually end around this time of the year, and the warm coziness of leisure moments after finishing well the hard work would wrap me up in that magic atmosphere of long sunny days, beautiful light summer clothes and relaxing, hot nights you can spend sleeping even in an open space under the stars if you wish to. Summer meant and well of course still means August, and August means birthday time for me. I never had some truly special birthday party in my life, but I would have never traded that August birthday time for anything in the world, because it almost always equaled seaside, sun and some particular joy only summer knew how to instill in me. Obligations of any sort on the other hand always instilled anxiety even at the best of times, and even though I was very often quite an outstanding performer of the things I had to deliver, I still looked very much forward to the “free” days. Free to do what I wanted and when I wanted, free to sleep as long as I wished, free of all my stresses, free of all kinds of “musts”, free of people and things imposed either by choice or by fate… oh yes, I loved summers so much – because they allowed me to be the person I really was and the person I wanted to be.
In today’s reality, a very large portion of stress in my life comes from the lack of my true purpose on this planet. For a really long time I thought I was irreversibly lost because by the age of 37 I should have already had crystal clear what I wanted to do in life. OK, I did finish university and I do have a profession which secured me modest but in certain ways sufficient and steady income in the good days, but even back then in the past I realized that it wasn’t really the only thing I wanted to do till the end of my days. Or even worse, there were periods when teaching and translating was something I honestly forced myself to do just to have a job, while my soul craved for totally different life paths. There are so many things I am interested in, so many things I would like to grasp, learn, experience, take part in, but I sincerely fear that any single one of them taken separately will never be enough on its own to help me have some sort of “once and for all” profession. I know what many of you will think and it is true, that in these modern times “once and for all” professions are quite an utopia and that we all have to constantly adapt to the changing world, but I think that you know what I wanted to say. I had in my mind profession more as a sense of identity, something you choose as your primary occupation in life, something you truly like and want to pursue. This lack of solid ground under my feet created such a state of confusion in my head comparable with aimless shooting in the dark in all possible directions, totally unsure of what I was trying to do in the first place. I even felt ashamed of myself for not being able to shed some light on just one well shaped direction at this professionally already advanced age… or plainly speaking, I felt desperate.
The despair dissipated to a certain point when I was recently pointed out a very interesting post about people defined among other things as multitalents – http://puttylike.com/terminology/ As I went on reading, in each and every line I could recognize some aspects of myself. I didn’t find some particular answer for my anguish, but I realized that I have to come to terms with who I am and be persistent about it. It’s not about being 37, it’s that even if I live to be 57, 67 or 77, I’m almost positive that even then I won’t be able to fully define who I am in a professional sense. The negative side to it is that if I put my efforts into dozen different things instead of just one, I’m very probably doomed to never make any sort of substantial contribution in this life. Instead, there will be a number of tiny creations, started but never really completed prior to their abandonment. But that’s me. And I have to accept it, just like I am still accepting my limitations due to the panic disorder. I am learning that I simply have to be “fine” with those limitations if I want to go on. In the same way, all my different selves and the lack of some completed definition are something I simply must be fine with. Maybe that is a bad thing, but maybe not. It is true that maybe all those tiny pieces of puzzles that failed to find their proper place in my life will simply disappear, but it is also possible that someone might take on from where I stopped and fit in what remains to create some meaningful, gorgeous image.
At this point, my thoughts suddenly focused on hummingbirds. They are so small, yet so beautifully shaped and so powerfully fighting for their place under the sun. It was a particularly stressful summer a couple of years ago when I spontaneously started drawing this hummingbird after a photo I saw in a book on nature. It helped me deal with fear and frustrations of those days and reminded me that even though my drawing talent was negated, I could have still drawn for myself. That I should not have stopped. Now more than ever, I need something or somebody to push me not to stop. I need some belief in myself, belief in spite of all odds and in spite of being who I am personally and professionally that I’ll manage to secure myself again a living of some sort and regain some self dignity I had when I wasn’t an agoraphobic. Maybe a miracle can happen, maybe I can succeed in some way no matter what I do and from where I act in life. I heard quite a good saying in a TV show about the famous Italian Medici family which goes more or less like this – You should never stand in the first lines, you might get unintentionally hurt. All you want to do you can do equally well even from behind the scene.
There is a summer in front of us and I want to believe that it will bring at least somewhat better days into my life. That summer wish is incarnated in this hummingbird I’m sharing with you. Happy summer everybody!