This past week, I've had a few reminders of my past, which have all served to make me look at where I am and how my life has changed.
First, I got a text from a former coworker who was camping up in the area with his family. He is probably one of the last people I worked with before I packed up my apartment and moved to the Catskills. I went and hung out with him by the lake, and we talked a little bit about how work was going for him (he's still at the company I left) and I talked a little about the odd jobs and the busy market season I've taken on. He mentioned briefly about some possible freelance work, but without hesitation, it's a "no" for me. I don't consider myself a programmer anymore. The only time I sit down at my computer these days are to balance my books and post new work on my site and that's more than enough desk work. I'd much rather be in the studio or garden.
A few days later, an order came in from another former colleague with a note saying how she has been following me online for a while, enjoying watching my success, and was happy to finally purchase a piece. When I started working at an online travel website, she was one of the first people I met and while we didn't work too closely, my department supported her department so our paths would cross on occasion. Despite not having worked together in close to 10 years, it was a nice to know she has been following my path of leaving NYC and pursing the life of an artist. I look forward to her receiving the vase and hopefully loving it as much as I enjoying making them. (Side note...I worked for the travel website for 9 years and I do not enjoy travel...I made this clear in my interview, I program, I don't travel.)
Then there is my second supervisor. She texted and called me out of the blue wanting to purchase a few pieces. We haven't spoken in years. Although social media has allowed us to keep an aerial shot of what's going on in each other's lives, it was amazing to hear her voice. I was working for her on 9/11 and she was a huge support to our team and we all huddled in her apartment watching everything unfold. She was a great boss and friend, creating a balance between the two that helped me grow in the corporate world. When I decided to leave that company, I can remember the call so clearly. At that time, she had already moved and was working remotely. I called her from an empty conference room and she said "This is the call I've been dreading but I am so incredibly happy for you." We both cried and this encouragement has stuck with me. It helped ingrain the need to follow my own path, trust my instincts, and know those who truly support you will do just that. If anyone makes you feel guilty about the direction you decide to move in, they don't care about your development, only their own.
I don't yearn for the past, and don't worry about the future (to an extent). The past doesn't have to stay in the past. It's good to remember the people and times that have passed through my life. Being reflective helps me identify formative moments I didn't know where happening. It makes me think about how adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up. That's too much pressure. As a 47 year old, I hope I keep having experiences and meeting people that keep me growing and changing the path I'm on.