Reflections: Part 3, Right Where I Need to Be. The End.

I have an e-mail alert from The Chronicle of Higher Education that regularly sends me updates on open faculty positions. I don’t know why I keep this service, as the emails just remind me of both the positive and negative aspects of my experience in higher ed. Every time I see a job that looks interesting or one that is close to my family, I immediately start thinking, “I should apply to the job and see what happens.” Then I start to recoil from these thoughts and tell myself, “No, try this new life out, give it a chance and see where life and your art career goes.” These moments are sometimes difficult, other times it is easy to delete the e-mail.

I have more than myself to consider of course, and I have a lot a great things happening in my life at the moment. My wife and I were able to, unknowingly, set ourselves up well for this change. We have a small house with a low carbon imprint, and as a result smaller utilities bills than some households. While I was still employed, we were able to pay off some dept, and we purchased two reliable vehicles one of which is extremely efficient. In addition, we have small raised bed gardens in our backyard to help with our food budget.

Most importantly for me, I have the best studio that I have ever had. I converted a two car garage, which is insulated, rewired, warmed primarily by a pellet stove, has a kiln, and plenty of work space. I do have a habit of buying tools, as I am a tool head, and they have taken over some of the room, but hey “Tools are Cool” and useful. Nonetheless, I can walk out the back door and go to my studio and work when my other responsibilities are taken care of, or relieved by my spouse.

In addition, I have been putting blocks in place for my art career. The initial revamp of my website has been launched, with another update on the way. Being some what of a workaholic and impatient, I would like things to happen more quickly; however, I am also glad that I cannot impose my hast on new developments that might occur. I have noticed that with time, I often have a clearer idea about how to approach the future, and I am learning patience. I am grateful for the ability to reflect and study life’s nuances, and by doing so, hopefully, become a better person, spouse, father, and artist.

One of my favorite times during the holiday season when we see family, is sitting around late at night with my siblings catching up with each other. Sometimes we get into heated discussions about the state of affairs, but we also discuss what is happening in each others’ lives, play games. Most of all we just enjoy one another. This last holiday season, we were having a lively conversation — I won’t go into detail — but one of my brothers said “Gerard is no wimp, he has a hell of a lot of courage”. Upon reflection, I realized that this statement meant a tremendous amount to me. Now he might have been referring to some of the stupid things that I did in my youth, like hitchhike from New York to Kentucky in the dead of winter, but I believe he was referring to my entire being. Thanks Bro!

Anyway, the last eight months of my life have been both challenging and rewarding, and I look forward to the future. For now, I am right where I need to be, courageous or just plain stupid, it matters little. Regardless, I am glad to have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home dad/ artist.

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