It's appropriate that I'm writing this on Sunday, October 1st, seventeen years after beginning the Epic Journey with my soulmate Kevin Johnson. And last year on this day, he and I moved into our new house and life in the Chattanooga, TN area. What a year it's been! There have been many ups and downs, but in general, the trend has been upward, like the curl of a smile.
The Good: We're staying here! Contrary to my statement in the Six-Month Report, we will not be selling this house since the difficulty we were having seems to have resolved itself. We still love Chattanooga! It's more familiar now, but we discover new treasures all the time. Last week we found a fabulous little hipster breakfast place called Mostly Syrup, Mostly Eggs located in an old firehouse! My love affair with the beauty of Creation continues in my (almost) daily "This morning at the cliff" Instagram and Facebook posts. I created a support group for unrealized artists of every discipline called Chattanooga Creatives which meets twice monthly and have met many wonderful like-minded people there. In the past year I've painted 58 paintings ranging in size from 5"x 7" to 30"x 30" - the most I've ever painted except for the 71 Periodic Table of the Elements paintings. I've also sold more paintings this year than ever before, except again, when I sold all of the Elements paintings. Kevin is about to launch an ebook and open our AirBnB. Elf is... well, life isn't that much different for Elf, but she enjoys the bird feeder on the window, chasing skinks when we take a walk and alerting us if she finds a scorpion in the house.
The Bad: We get scorpions in the house. Well, we used to. Unfortunately, we have to spray the foundation with insecticide which I'm not a fan of, but it works. Kevin was stung twice before we instituted that protocol, but no problems since then. We're still not quite able to support ourselves on our dreams, but we are getting closer. We've had to adjust our mindsets because we are not just a yogi/mental health counselor and artist, but entrepreneurs. As such, I find myself struggling with how I spend my time: painting (my fav), writing (my other fav), marketing my website, building relationships locally, social media networking, finding opportunities to show my work, studying marketing, and administrative duties. Oh, and I forgot: finding time for daily household chores, yard work, exercising and spending time with my husband, Elf, and friends. I work far more hours than I ever did when I had a job. And I worry that I don't do any of it very well. That's the worst part.
Despite the struggles and concerns, I'm happier here than I was in Massachusetts. I miss my old haunts, my friends and most especially my Mom, but it's so fulfilling to be creating the life we want for ourselves. And I sincerely hope that by sharing my experience I'm inspiring others to take the chance and go for it themselves.
Please share your thoughts or comments. Connect with me! I share my most recent paintings and humble musings on Instagram and Facebook. You can find paintings available for sale there and on my website, as well as new prints available in my store. You can also commission a painting or pet portrait as a gift for yourself or a friend. Share the love!