I admit I am in the throes of a late life (61) identify crises. It feels of similar magnitude to what I went through in my late teens, as I entered my twenties trying to sort out my life direction.
At that time I was a vulnerable, pregnant 19 year old with minimal family support, a few acquaintances from sibling relationships, and the 20 year old father of my daughter. It was 1975. I had quit high school a couple of years before, and had basically been on my own with my boyfriend living in a backyard tent, shared houses, and eventually, a 1956 Dodge bread van converted to camper.
Today I feel vulnerable, but the fact is I own a house under renovation in Vancouver, I have survived 12 years of graduate school, and I have an impressive, if eclectic portfolio demonstrating the breadth of my decades of work and pursuit (digital management systems, painting, drawing and music, education research, carpentry, and project management) and the depth of my inquiries (BFA, MA, PhD, 3,500 hours carpentry, pursuing project management certification).
My crisis arises from sorting out my next career path. What do I invest in now? What do I pursue? Is it spiritual to have ambition? Do I meditate and hope for the best? I have worked hard all my life. I expect to work up to the ‘deadline’. Where is my path? Where does it lead?
I sat down the other evening to make a drawing. I flipped through my thousands of possible photos and this is the one that spoke to me. The mainsail is under load. It is cleated to the boom. The boom is shackled to the sheet rigging. All this connectivity makes it possible for the boat to cut through the water and move us forward.
I love this drawing. The seeming inviolability of the hardware and fasteners is rendered as a tenuous thread of connectivity. It is these connections, these relationships that withstand the sometimes gale forces of nature, that enable us, empower us to move forward.