Last week, I moved from one desk to another at my office. I didn’t receive a promotion, but someone else moved offices and they decided to move me too. I packed my drawer of files, my stapler, my snacks onto a cart and moved them 50 feet across the area to my new desk. The first thing I moved over, though, were my photos.
I have about a dozen photos I keep near my desk. A photo of my family from my graduation day. A photo of myself and my love, Wesley, at a Cubs game. A picture of my sister and I all dressed up for the President’s Ball from college days. My dog. Very predictable photos anyone might have at their desk.
There is another photo that is less obvious. It’s a little blurry, actually. But it’s a photo of 45 (or so) people standing in a circle between rows of chairs on one side and a tall set on the other. My sister (sneakily) took this photo. It was my senior year at Wheaton College, the closing of the final show I was a part of at Arena Theater, as a member of Workout. Workout is the theater ensemble at Wheaton College, and one of the most impactful experiences I had in those four years. (Perhaps one of the most impactful experiences I’ll ever have, but that’s for another time.) It was a very clear end to a significant chapter of my life.
I sat at my new desk and looked at this picture for a good few minutes. It reminds me of my more creative, my artist self. I smiled.
There were days not that long ago that I felt like I had “sold out.” I graduated college in 2015 with some of my most meaningful work and experiences logged at Arena Theater. I thought, as I prepared (with great trepidation) to enter the adult world, that I might take a bumpy road forward. I thought I might stage manage or write or (in my secret thoughts) maybe just maybe even act for a living. I would work in a coffee shop or a restaurant to pay the bills and I would not have a lot of money but I would be happy. I would be living creatively and doing what I love, not sitting behind some desk for eight hours a day, miserable.
Yet here I was, sitting at the desk of my 9-to-5 job. Feeling very happy and so grateful. Continue reading “On Work & Art”