The Day Job Years
After 10 years working in the fields of marine science and ecotourism, I started to lose my love for the natural world. I was burned out. I didn’t want to rewatch those fabulous BBC documentaries anymore. I didn’t have the energy or time for outdoor adventures. I’d stopped making art. Creativity gets left behind when you’re fighting to get by. To be a scientist you have to be very narrowly focused. You have to focus on one thing for the rest of your life. I wasn’t passionate enough about one thing to focus on. I became disillusioned with working for companies who relied on natural resources for their business but did not give back in anything in return.
Stepping away from the path I’d been on was a hard thing to do. After some reflection, I’ve come to realize that in my time spent in the field collecting data and bent over a computer, subconsciously, I was soaking up inspiration like a sponge. Without that degree I may never have interned at a wildlife rehab clinic. I may have never moved to Victoria to watch whales 6 days a week, 8 months of the year. I may have never travelled to Haida Gwaii by tall ship. I definitely never would have worked on a boat 100 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. I feel as though I’ve come full circle. That was my time to collect. Now is my time to create. To give back. Art making is my act of service.
These were all dream jobs, they just weren’t my dream jobs. I missed my friends. I missed my family. I missed my home. I really am a home body and, if given the choice, I’m perfectly happy hermiting up for a couple days.
I took a desk job, thinking maybe stability would be the magic I was missing. All my friends talked of how I won the lottery, landing a full-time job, in my city, with benefits and everything. I felt drained. I lost my passion. I didn’t watch those documentaries anymore. I thought taking this kind of job would allow me the luxury of getting back out there. I was so burnt out by then end of the day I had nothing left. Then there was a shift in the culture of the company, and a lot of people had left, and a lot more were getting laid off. I decided it was my time to go.
The common thread in all of this was this feeling of a burden of gratitude. I felt like I should be grateful for the opportunities I’d had, and I was, I just wasn’t happy.
I did a lot of thinking about what would make me happy. I worked with a councillor to find the source – to figure out if this was an external thing or if there was something inside me that was preventing my happiness. I know I am not one of those people who can be happy just anywhere. I need an airy and beautiful space. I need daylight. I need fresh air. I need daily contact with the natural world. I need to walk in the woods, along the shore. It’s how I connect to what’s important to me.
The Art Years
The University Years
The Whale Years