A new season is quickly approaching and although summer will soon end and fall will begin, this is not the season change I am talking about. I am talking about a change in the seasons of my life. I am talking about whole-heartedly becoming a full time artist.
As many people know I have had a ‘slash job’, a term I recently learned as being when you have more then one career. I have been an Artist/Nurse for 10 years. I have finally decided to loose the slash. I have decided to move on from Nursing and fully into the career my heart is telling me to follow. I. AM. ARTIST.
Scary? a bit. Crazy? some may think. Feels right? heck yes! Going to take a lot of work and dedication? Yup! Am I up for the challenge? Oh ya baby!
I am not leaving Nursing because I don’t enjoy it. Sure. There are some parts that are not my favorite, like any job. There are part of the ‘system’ that I find difficult to work in. But truly, I do enjoy Nursing. I LOVE the connections I make with people, that I am able to have an impact on people’s lives. I get to hear people’s stories and use creative problem solving to find ways to help them. but guess what… I can also do this through art! That has been one of the most exciting things I have learned through 10 years of my ‘slash job’ are the parallels in the two careers, even though they can seem so different.
Art can help us work through an emotion or problem, bring fond memories, create distraction, tell a story and create space where we feel safe, calm and connected. I have been lucky enough to have opportunities that have connected both my Art and Nursing worlds such as creating a mural for BC Children’s Hospital, creating murals and art for Live Well Exercise clinics and Morgan Creek Medical and creating a large painting for the NICU at Surrey Memorial Hospital. I have also taught a workshop that allowed women to let go and connect with what is truly important to them.
I have been building my art business for 10 years now. When I first started I was living in Victoria working full-time at a hospital in post open heart surgery while selling art in cafes and restaurants. I then went on to work in home and community/ palliative care in the Comox Valley while selling my art on weekends at art fairs and in local shops. We moved to White Rock and I continued selling my art at various venues while working part time as a Diabetes Nurse in a doctors office. 4 years ago I moved to Maple Ridge and reduced this job to 1 day a week with the intention of one day being brave enough to take the leap into full time art. That ‘one day’ is today. Looking back it truly have been a slow and smooth transition of seasons.
As I reflect on my 15 years as an RN I can pin point certain experiences that I feel truly grateful for having. Although difficult, they have molded me as a person and allowed me to experience life on a deeper level which has helped me to become a more focused and thoughtful artist. I have been with patients as they take their final breaths, I have assisted saving lives, I have experienced the pure adrenaline rush of giving CPR, I have educated people to better their health, I have prepared bodies after they have passed away, I have comforted family members in time of stress and loss, I have celebrated with patients as they reach their health goals. I have been invited to share in so many human experiences that have lead me to be a better person. These are all true gifts.
I have learned that life truly is too short to not be doing what you love. I have the privilege of the opportunity to be doing what I feel most passionate about and I feel it would truly be a shame to waste that chance. When my Mom passed away from cancer shortly after retiring from her Nursing career it became very evident to me that I did not want to ‘wait till I retire’ to do that things I love. I try to take advantage of opportunities for joy now and every day instead of waiting. Becoming a full time artist is one of the ways I plan to seize the joy and I am confident I can bring joy to others with my art.
I am so grateful for all of the support I have had for my art career from my family, customers and admirers. Without you I would truly not be able to make this change of seasons happen.
As I head today into my final shift as an RN I will look back fondly on my time as a Nurse and look ahead excitedly towards my time as a full time Artist.
Me in my Nursing duds (stethoscope included) in front of the mural I painting for the Morgan Creek Medical office where I have been working for 8 years. Parallel worlds! Looking forward to the new season ahead!