Exciting New Things!

I've been silent on my blog since mid-March, but am ready to give a small update on what I've been up to! I have a lot of super exciting things going on and I am extremely proud of what I have accomplished! I've never worked harder or more than I have the past few months, but I can't be more proud of myself. 

 In February, my boss left my department and I was once again the Interim Director here at Watkins Community Education at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. I loved the new responsibility, but was becoming increasingly more and more overwhelmed with my duties because I was alone in the office. On top of doing the jobs of two people at work, I was also getting opportunities to show my work! This was an incredibly exciting thing for me because it had never really happened before. I had my first booth at a craft fair at the Craft & Drafts festival sponsored by the Nashville Scene at the Nashville Farmer's Market, and I was asked to have my work at Bongo Java East again. I was also asked to be a part of a group show by a local artist I admire, Jeff Bertrand, who is curating a show at called Terrible 2's at 40au gallery in the Arcade in Nashville on June 4th! 

All of this good has had me burning the candle at both ends, and I hit my breaking point the day that Watkins offered me the Director of Community Education position. I was beyond happy, but also incredibly tired. It took everything for me not to burst into tears from a combination of excitement, relief, and pain-- the type of pain that a child feels when they don't want to get out of bed to go to school. NO I don't want to! You can't make me! I had been planning summer programs including adult classes and workshops, a month of youth camps, and a three-week long Pre-College Program, organizing and closing out grants, finalizing budgets, and communicating with program participants and teaching artists all by myself for 12 weeks. I was doing things that I had never done before which was amazing! I was doing things that I love about my old job and it was amazing! But being alone was getting to me, and so was being an artist and having a demanding 9-5 job. I was staying up until 4am to finish pieces and then trying to get to work on time. I never could. I didn't want to have to admit that I couldn't give both things my full attention. But ultimately, excitement and relief won out over my childish subconscious and I accepted! I was, and still am excited, happy, and incredibly grateful to be the new director of this amazing program.

It wasn't until I slowed down and took a vacation (which my husband and I had planned in December, long before my life was so busy) that I realized how tired I was. My husband, Troy, had a conference in Las Vegas and we decided that I would tag along and we'd go a few days in advance. I accepted the director's position just two days before we left, so the whole thing felt like a big celebration! Once we arrived in Las Vegas we had a full first day. And then I slept. And slept. And slept. It was incredible! My husband and I were able to spend four lovely days together where we didn't think about anything except for what adventures we might go on that day. Everything was spontaneous and silly and romantic and it was really some of the most fun we've ever had together. After a few days I went back to reality while he stayed on in Vegas for his conference. When I arrived home from a full day of traveling it was 10pm, but that didn't stop me from obsessing over the dozens and dozens of emails I had received during my time out of the office. I spent that night and the entirety of the next day responding to emails and phone calls and organizing and finalizing plans for the summer. And after only one day back I was so tired I was ready for another vacation. It's only been a week since then when I felt like I hit the "reset" button, but it already seems like there's less time for art, which is hard for me. I think that once I get a Coordinator for the program, things will calm down a bit and I'll have more time for my personal work. Because doing what I am now is not sustainable. 

I'm excited for all of these amazing opportunities I've had and I am working hard to learn how to balance work, my studio practice, and my personal life. If someone were to ask, "how do manage it?" my answer is, "I just do." There is no special secret to managing all that life throws at you that works for everyone, you just make it work. You drive yourself crazy and you secretly love it. You prioritize what is most important, and when there are two (or five) things that tie for first, then you just have to figure out how to get it done. It might mean re-evaluating what you value most. It might mean going out less or maybe going out more. It might mean staying late at work or deciding instead to leave a little early so that you can meet your husband for drinks and dinner out. And I make mistakes (so many!), I am constantly underestimating how long some things take, and mixing up dates even if I'm looking at a calendar, and overcommitting myself. I just try to correct myself the best that I can and keep moving because there is nothing that can stop my program's youth camps from beginning June 6th or the drop-off date for my group gallery show from being June 2nd. There is nothing that can stop time, so you just have to figure out how to fit it all in the best that you can... and all of this is said by a woman who doesn't have it all together... but do you know anyone who does? 

xoxo
Anna