But one thing can be measured, for what it is worth: The Blog itself. If it keeps growing year by year and keeps getting traffic and at one time the Putin bots that now are my only regular visitors will be replaced by engaged human beings … then that is a yardstick for impact.
However crude and imperfect.
And I believe it is a better impact – given my experience, talent and skill – then I can give in this life as a social worker or a worker in a social justice organisation, paid or voluntary.
I will not say no to such positions if opportunity arises and it feels right.
But right now the point is moot, because it doesn’t really look like I can qualify for any meaningful position within the humanitarian organisations anymore, and as regards work for individual persons, e.g. as a helper for the disabled, I just don’t have that much to give anymore. I am not getting younger and the job is hard. And it doesn’t scale at all – so: Extremely limited impact.
But even if I could get a job in, say, Action Aid International I would still feel that The Blog is, as far as I can see right now, the best thing I can give to the world.
And that means that my drawing is free from that demand.
And good riddance.
I don’t need to change the world via drawing, or storytelling.
I just need to draw.
For a long time I thought I should only tell stories, including stories in drawing, that had some ‘higher purpose’ and would make ‘some difference’ in people’s lives. I no longer do that.
It would be nice, but I no longer think like that.
I have my web business and my temp work and a few other ideas, and maybe I can scrape some income from donations if I do videos of my drawing process and say something clever and witty while I do it. And maybe I can crowdfund some funds for graphic novel printing and do a talk live – or two – about my subjects. And earn an extra buck.
But I don’t have to live from it. I just have to do it. Every day.
“I believe you!’ the artiste exclaimed finally and extinguishes his gaze. ‘I do! These eyes are not lying! How many times have I told you that your basic error consists in underestimating the significance of the human eye. Understand that the tongue can conceal the truth, but the eyes – never! A sudden question is put to you, you don’t even flinch, in one second you get hold of yourself and know what you must say to conceal the truth, and you speak quite convincingly, and not a wrinkle on your face moves, but – alas – the truth which the question stirs up from the bottom of your soul leaps momentarily into your eyes, and it’s all over! They see it, and you’re caught!”
― Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
And it can’t be forced – maturity. That is the problem.
It can, however, be helped along.
If you consciously decide to deal with your own personal problems and improve yourself, e.g. through coaching or therapy … then you can in principle speed up maturity. In a manner of speaking.
You can speed up the awareness of your experiences and the ability to act prudently with the knowledge you have now – use it well.
How the hell can it ever work to strive for realizing something that will make you happy, but strive in a way that makes you feel stressed and struggling?
Why is that voice there, saying all through the day:
‘You are not good enough.
‘You did not get a job.
‘You did not get savings.
‘You did not get pension.
‘You did not get a house.
‘You did not get other normal stuff that people your age have.
‘You did not realize your skills, life purpose or much of value to anyone but your nearest family.
‘And these judgments are more important than everything you did – everything you did realize – everything you did value – everything.’
Normally I would be tempted to make some kind of statement and then embark on a rigorous mental training to get the voice to shut up once and for all.
And forget my shame about it quickly.
But maybe that is not enough this time. Not courageous enough, I mean.
Maybe I have to dare own it first.
And taking that step forward anyway and following the path I have now set out … that is a very practical experience of true faith.
You don’t need to be religious to experience it.
You just need to find the courage to trust yourself and in your capability to adapt and create value in life, regardless of all the uncertainty.
That kind of understanding – that you can make a lot of important impact on the world and it need not be to help with the most extreme suffering for it to be important – that is an understanding, I believe, that comes with age.
I wouldn’t mind a merge with my younger self with that perspective so I can make more impact sooner, but for lack of that, what I can do with the rest of my life will have to suffice.
Passion is necessary, more often than not, to finish any kind of Project – be it earning money, making a difference in the world, or achieving some kind of artistic pinnacle.
I thought for a long time it would help me finish creative projects if I narrowed them down to just one, due to work and family time constraints.
Turns out I get more motivated by having about 3 projects that I can shift between (but not many more), like I am recording an album instead of just having to choose a single song.
It may take longer, in principle, to finish any one of these projects, yes – but now I feel more confident that I WILL actually finish one, because I realized that this worked for me.
Patience is perhaps the ultimate problem I have and had, even back in 1997. It might also be the ultimate solution.
Goals and physical conditions and all sorts of other stuff are important, yes, but … the entirety of my experience of life is the most important. And that, I can actually control.
—it really feels like it gives me what I want right now to just do my best at making business full time as a webdesigner and then taking every possible moment of free time that I need this energy to do some of my creative projects.
And when I have the energy. Or need it.
Instead of creating a struggle between my business and my creative life.
Like that one about setting goals that make you feel better now…
That is a good one.
“Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” – Mark Twain