Earlier this year I wrote a post about my father's passing entitled 'End of an Era'. That was very much a backwards looking, sad reminiscing of things that I will miss. This post is about the future, and what I am looking forward to. This week I celebrated my birthday. I have started a new decade and it seems a very good time to announce a new start, a new beginning.
Firstly everyone I told about my age instantly commiserated with me and began to try and cheer me up. They misunderstood. I am delighted to be 60. Not everyone makes it to this age so that makes me a very lucky person for a start. I am doubly lucky to be healthy and with very few age related aches and pains. Of course I am not as fit as I was in my twenties, but I no longer feel the need to jog or go to aerobics classes - perhaps I should, I sometimes feel bad about no longer practicing yoga, I often make a resolution to begin again, I have the time and the space, but not the will as I never do.
I can divide my life into several distinct stages each very different from the other. This was not planned it just happened. My childhood was cut short by the death of my mother when I was 11. It was as if I had my eyes closed before and suddenly they were open and the world I saw was different.
The next phase of my life was chaos and jumbled emotions, during this time I married for the first time and had two children. The birth of my children brought clarity and purpose to my life and a steadying influence that made me realise that I had made a mistake in my choice of life partner.
Soon after this I began a new phase, a much calmer and more self assured me chose a much more suitable partner to travel through life with. A man who is still with me today. Then followed the longest phase (which passed so quickly I might add). Two more children and a return to the world of work. The responsibilities of motherhood and the desire to help my offspring navigate their own choppy waters just seemed to take all our energies and time.
Then with our babies fully grown we made a big change, moving to a foreign country to pursue a long standing dream that, like most dreams, was only half envisaged at the start. And now? Well now that we have settled into a rhythm and feel very much at home in our adopted country I want to follow a personal dream.
If anyone asked me what do you do? Or what is your profession? I never knew what to say. I always felt diminished by the question because being a mother and managing a home and a marriage successfully is one of the most difficult jobs in the world but it doesn't seem to get the recognition it deserves. I was 'only' a housewife, or I was 'just' a secretary when out in the world of work. None of these descriptions quite captured who I felt I was. Up until a year or so ago I still felt like I hadn't actually decided what I wanted to be when I grew up! But now it is as clear as can be.
I want to be a textile artist. Working with fabrics and yarn is a passion, a joy and a comfort to me. Creating things with textiles inspires me in a way nothing else does. I wish I had realised this earlier but obviously the time was not right. It is now.
So. Can I just tell everyone I am a textile artist? Do I need formal qualifications to say I'm an artist? Do I need to exhibit my work? Should my work be for sale? Is there a difference between art and craft? I kinda know that much of what I do is craft but what is art then? How do I elevate it to artistic status? These are all questions that I am looking forward to exploring in the years to come. I am excited by the challenges ahead, looking forward to improving my skills and perhaps sharing my knowledge with others. It's a bright brave new world I see before me and I have never been happier. It's so cool to be in my 60's!