Happy New Year, 2011
I shot this photograph from my deck in January 2004. To enter this into the Palisade Art Lovers Show (PALS), I got a large print from Snap Photo, matted it, and framed it. It was such a fun process. It was the first time I’d ever done that, and the first time I’d entered a photograph in a contest/show. Now I have this hanging on a wall in my house. I liked the composition of this one so much.
I guess I didn’t follow through very well with the card-a-day-before-Christmas plan. Three days before Christmas, my blog draft was entitled (aptly enough), “Three Days Before Christmas.” I managed to write two sentences. I could tell at the time I was not inspired. I started another on Christmas Day, but I was so hung over that I took a powder for much of that day and the next. My son told me if he was too old to wrestle with his buds (he broke his neck in the process, this December) then I am too old to stay up all night partying with my girlfriends. I think he might be wrong on that one point. You’re never too old to enjoy the company of your sisters in life.
For the days previous to that raging hangover, I was desperately trying to write a resume. Why was that so difficult? I can certainly write well enough to get that done. But I was having a major mental block, I guess. The fact that I even need to be doing that has been extremely upsetting to me.
One issue is that defining all the things I do and have done, is very difficult. I think it might have boiled down to a tree/forest/sight thing. I am a graphic designer, yes; but I am not only a graphic designer. I guess it’s like a domestic goddess. “Housewife” and/or “homemaker” doesn’t even come close to describing the myriad talents and duties required of someone to run a home. It’s hard to condense the fact that I can probably do about anything I set my mind to, and I’ve done so many things. Nobody wants to know that I love the process and I love the work I do. It’s a tough market right now, and I haven’t written my own resume for 14 years. I finally had to have someone else, whom I trust with words and my interests, read it, critique it, and offer some excellent advice about how to proceed.
In my “career” as a graphic designer, I became familiar with copiers, printers, offset presses, process camera and chemicals, the old-style Compugraphic typesetting machine, pasteboards, wax, Exacto knives (even one in my toe once). At home, I did simple BASIC programming on the old Commodore 64 and when I got my first Mac in May of 1992, I was truly in heaven. I taught myself with books how to use it and QuarkXpress to work on a catalog and help get it done. Seems like every day I learned something. I still do. There is so much more to learn. Now I’m proficient in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, and am familiar and can work with so many others. I want to move toward mobile, which is essentially where I think it’s all going. But there’s so much—I can’t even think where I might best begin.
Over the course of years, I learned how to troubleshoot my Macs because there was nobody else that could do it for less than $60/hour OR get to it as fast as I needed them to. I’ve discovered and eradicated viruses on the Mac (not a common occurrence), and I’ve dealt with conflicting software and hardware (remember SCSI?!). My boss and I put together the graphic components of a website that I kept updated — that was in 2000. I’ve managed up to five other people to get a heavy workload complete in a short amount of time. I have conversations with clients, vendors, and printers to determine what everyone needs to get each job done. I don’t mind working long hours to get a job done on time. I’m not afraid to ask questions, and I teach myself what I need to know. I do love the process.
Anyway, it doesn’t seem like there’s really any work for a non-college educated person who is a self-starter, highly motivated, curious, capable, and has a really good work ethic. To be fair, I just started. Maybe there’s something out there.
Meantime, I’m finally settling into the realities of this thing. I have really struggled with so many issues surrounding this change. I need to find a job. I need to be able to continue to support myself. I may have to give up graphic design, although I hope to always have my hands in it. I’m sure there’s going to be some freelance stuff available over the years. After struggling with this new reality and trying to get a grip on it, I am now almost excited. Of course, I vacillate between fear and excitement, but I’m at least not only fearful. I don’t mind saying that I even let myself think that it’s really going to be good — whatever it is going to be. That optimism alone (although not a constant companion) has got to count for something.
So, as we approach the last day of 2010, scary and exciting year that it has been, I wish for all of you some peace and happiness and success in all that you do. I think 2011 will be an interesting and exciting year.
Happy New Year!