Friday, September 23, 2011

Musings from Midnight

For the past few weeks, my husband and I have have lain in bed well past midnight, talking in the dark about deep things, secret things held close to our hearts, things we'd be afraid anyone else would scoff at or wouldn't understand.  They've been the sort of nights a lot of people had when they were newlyweds but after years of married life had gotten out of practice.

One of the recurring themes I've agonized over with Rick is how to find who I really am and what I really want to do.  Do I want to keep making jewelry?  Do I want to concentrate on making beads, and make jewelry JUST with my beads?  Do I want to just SELL beads?  Or do I want to write?  And if so, WHAT?  Blog posts for other blogs?  Magazine articles?  Books?

Flash backward to a mind-clearing trip over the Big Scary Bridge to shop for clothes.  I despise clothes shopping.  It's hard to believe I once fought anorexia.  Well, I won that battle and apparently ate the skinny girl I once was.  Clothes shopping is akin to fighting the Saxons with nail clippers and a shield made out of sponge cake.  Not fun.  But what's a girl to do but fight that dragon and do it when the seasons change and her waist size did, too?

Across the street from a tolerable clothing store is Paper Source, a remarkable paper/cards/things-I-somehow-convince-myself-I-can't-live-without place, and I found an amazing book.

As of today, it's only $7.98 on  I have it, and plan to sit down and do some soul-searching with it.  It's got an interesting perspective about things, and it's not just a workbook -- in fact, it's actually NOT a workbook so much as a jumping-off point for your thoughts.

Here are some of the pages:

It does give you some ideas to get you started, if you get stumped.  Sometimes, I think we just need a little help finding our way.  We're too close to the source of our fears to think clearly.

I have no idea where this will take me.  I bought a few other books and I'm sure I'll be sharing tidbits of those along the way.

I know I'm behind the power curve in updating my web site daily, marketing as I know I should, keeping up with making new things, coming up with new jewelry ideas, getting out to the lampwork studio.  Almost the entire summer went to being a Mom with a capital M-O-M.  And let me tell you something -- it paid off in HUGE ways I can't even explain here.   There are some things even I won't blog about.

I've been sad a lot lately, and I know it has to do with my lack of place.  I know I'm a good mother.  Hugs that knock me on the floor, nearly squashing the cat, tell me so.  I know I'm a great wife.  Long midnight talks and waking up as I fell asleep -- in the arms of a man I love and trust -- tell me so.  Now I need to figure out how *I* feel about me and my place in this world.  What am I good at, what am I happy doing, what can I do to feel successful and maybe make a little money while doing it.

Money isn't the reason to do anything, of course.  People do get mixed up with thinking their place in the grand world scheme has to do with how much is in their bank account.  I've lived on both sides of the coin -- abject poverty while putting myself through school and the finer days during the boom.  Having seen both sides, I can safely say -- no job is worth any amount of money if you're miserable doing it.

Somewhere along the line, I'm going to figure things out. I plan on stubbing my toe a lot, shouting a few Very Bad Words along with some whoops of joy.  I just have no idea when anything is going to happen or what will happen or how.  

I just need to know, to remember, to PROMISE myself, that I'm on my way -- to something big.


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene and is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.


  1. I feel as if we are traveling parallel paths. we have similar struggles and some not so similar. Might have to look into that book- but then I will have to force myself to slow down long enough to read it... Have to get off the gerbil wheel for a bit!!!! hugs!

  2. Awesome post! I had a similar conversation with my dad a few weeks ago, and he simply told me "you don't know where you're headed, but you're on your way!"

  3. I don't think this needs the standard reply to let you know "you done REALLY good." You must feel it already, Lori. This feels so soul-ful. I'll only remark that what you've written here makes me think hard also. (I always think that's one of the highest compliments a person can pay anyway.)

    Best wishes on your journey...

  4. Bless you Lori! You know how to put into words what I (and so many others, I expect) feel at times. Challenges are a bit different for me, but I know some of those feelings all too well. I also believe that we all will find ourselves one day.

    It's near midnight here and I plan on reading this again tomorrow. I'm so glad you shared tonight. It couldn't have come at a better time. Thank you.

    And best wishes to you... you are on your way already... and that something is going to be bigger and better than you ever expected, I just know it! :-)

  5. Your blogs are such an inspiration to your followers. I am so content in my life right now that I have to pinch myself sometimes but understand your musings.

    I purchased a hank of pink hair to add to my hair to honor my friend who died a couple of weeks ago.

    Take care and have fun on your journey!

  6. Beautiful post! Wishing you all the best in your journey.

  7. Anonymous11:40 PM

    Choices. Action. Life. Your Way. No regrets. I like those words. It's what we do every day, over and over again, without the guilt. Are you hesitating? Hyperventilating? Take a deep breath and GO!

  8. Lori, you ARE that wonderful person now and certainly heading to more amazing things! :-) It's going to be a great year ahead....

  9. Here's two penny's worth of advice from an old lady. If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always got. Try new things, and new ways till your passion finds you. Find your way slow and easy. Meditate,
    practice Qi Kung, and read Free Play by Stephan Nachmanovitch.


  10. I can so emphasise with you. Having made a tremendous decision to move across continents for various reasons and to be close to my children, I sometimes feel totally terrified at the step I have taken. I have no regrets but the journey is proving hard. I have learned to live a day at a time and face my demons with a courage I did not know I had. That little book might be a source of much needed encouragement. Thank you for sharing and best wishes for your journey.

  11. Lori, you are an inspiration to some many people, the number of blog soup party participants is an example of that. Good luck for your journey, you have given me so much confidence in my own jewellery making and blogging and I wish you every happiness.
    Deb x

  12. hurrah to that gorgeous! I think there's a lot of us {including me} who feel like...I will be walking with you along this journey of yours...even more hugs coming your way ;o)


    hello gorgeous xxx

  13. Hey Sista, I feel ya. I'm at a crossroads too with my jewelry making. I have faith that we will both figure this out. Maybe together.

  14. Thank you always for sharing with your heart and soul. I think deep down inside we all yearn for a completeness that we just don't find on this planet. I know for me it is loving myself that is the hardest thing to do. I can receive praise and love from others, give with my whole heart to others and accomplish outrageously amazing things and there is still an empty hole in my soul that I can't seem to fill. I think that is the thing that keeps me trying and that is what my life is really about. The journey, the quest for the unattinable completeness. We are all a piece of a giant puzzle trying to find our place so that the picture becomes clear. Follow your heart.
    and here is a big HUG.

  15. This is a wonderful post !
    Sometimes it's hard for me to think were I want to be in the next five minutes ,let alone the next five years !!!
    At the risk of being overly trite and is about the journey.....
    I would have to say I believe as long as the YOU keeps evolving so must the quest for self. If we are enjoying the trip I think we end up at the proper destinations.
    m.e. :)

  16. Great post..I'm a ongoing work in progress. And I totally get the width not just the length way of living. Some one asked me that question of where do I want to be in 5 years...oh it must of been 20 years ago. Doing more with my art more than likely would of been my reply along with spiritual growth and knowledge. And I did. The neat part of the Art is it went in a direction I had not planned. Interior design...each area has here 1,000's of companies to learn and recognize of sources and, fabrics, furniture, accessories, plumbing...and on and on. Same with the mix media world, scrap-booking and the bead world...Next thing the learning about them is over an it's just what you know.
    It's helped me to realize not to freak out by the sheer number...just start...I'll get there in my own due time. Thanks for this post and thank you for being there on my beading world journey. Now I can't write everything I'm thinking here..too much... but this will do.
    Terri G.

  17. Why is it that we women often find ourselves at a certain point in our lives where we realize that we have not yet found our own definition of ourselves? Or is it that life changes around us and we've not kept pace with updating the way we look at ourselves? Lori, there are things I do not share on my blog either. They are too deep and personal. And that is the way should all be. But I will tell you that one of those things was a major life altering event for me nearly two years ago now. It started me on a similar journey that you find yourself on now. It can be difficult to go through this exercise. But the rewards are great and so worthwhile. Travel well, my friend.

  18. i am so glad that you are experiencing the labor pains that proceed rebirth... i suspect that if we are mindful, we feel this way on and off in our lives... but perhaps never so strongly as the first time...
    happy trails -
    'follow your bliss' - joseph campbell

  19. Great post, Lori. Hang in there. I love that you talked about being sad. Sometimes you just have to FEEL that sadness, process it and then move on.

    Good luck. We all have our individual journeys that we are taking. It's nice to know that others are traveling with us along the way.

  20. I'm on my sixth or seventh career right now and feel the same yearnings to know where I am supposed to be. I am happy and busy, but the uncertainty of what the future holds unsettles me too. You are not alone. I guess we are all in a similar situation, but the differences are how we address the situation: do we sit around moping about not finding direction? Or do we move "forward" as best we can and hope it gets us a head-start on the road to being "what we want to be when we grow up"?

    Keep posting these thought provoking blogs and you will know you are not alone!

  21. You basically summed up in words the path that I am on. I am just so lost and I hate it. My Hubby told me last night that maybe I needed to take some online classes and my exact words to him were. "I can't because I have no idea what I want to do." I fought and won a battle with Cancer this year and since then I feel so dissatisfied with my life. Don't get me wrong I am happy to be alive, there just has to be more.....

  22. Great blog post Lori. I went through a similar struggle some years ago (I'm now nearly 62), and I feel as though I am finally happy with who I am and what I do. Although sometimes I still think there is a skinny, adventurous, outgoing lady somewhere inside me wanting to get out - I just sit on her!!

  23. This is such a thought provoking post. So many of us don't even recognize when we are at this place. I think you've cleared the first hurdle by recognizing it and knowing it needs to be addressed.

    Keep up those secret midnight talks. For so many reasons.

  24. Oh how I hate clothes shopping! I guess it might be easier if I loved my body but, even after I psych myself up I get overwhelmed 3 steps in the door, turn around and walk out. I really have a very hard time understanding "retail therapy"...

    As for the rest of it, too many thoughts to post here. Personally I've realized lately I need to put some work into building my social circle. Tele-commuting to my real job can be lonely, but it sure beats the hour+ commute! Perhaps a crafting club once a month... hmmm... ~~T

  25. This post hits a note with me right now, Lori, since I've been thinking of answers to those exact questions. That book looks pretty awesome; next time I'm in a book store, I'll have to check it out.

  26. P.S. Love the site revamp! When did you do it? It looks lovely!

  27. Hi Lori, wow sometimes i think you have seem to write the right post at the right just have a way when things seem like they will never be good you open the light at the end of the tunnel. Lori you are good at many things but writing omg girl you are an amazing inspirational writer i think you would make a wonderful Dear Abby..thank-you for being such a wonderful inspiration to me and many others i just adore you! xoxo Lana

  28. thanks so much for saying what I've been thinking about A LOT lately. I guess I'm not the only one in the world who gets this way and wonders what the hell I'm doing. I'll have to check out the book you bought too. thanks.

  29. That feeling like you need to change something is always scary yet fun to think about. The best part of life to me is to have "loved" especially my husband and my kids... glad you have that too! I always pay attention to my gut feeling too. We always know more about what is best for us than we give ourselves credit for... best wishes for you!

  30. Oh my gosh, there are SO many things about my life that I don't share on my blog! Unfortunately it seems like the people who do share openly are the ones who are more successful...but at what cost? I just can't do it, as evidenced by my result from the DNA personality test I took! I saw your results on your sidebar and decided to check it out for myself. I came out as a "faithful architect" which basically means that I like things in order, and I don't try new things!

    I am at a similar junction in my life. In fact, I just made the decision not to apply for a job that would have been a great fit for the practical me. Instead, I've decided that I'm not done with this jewelry gig just yet! I want to see what else is out there for me. I hope to find good things, and I pray you do as well. What you're doing right now, it looks good from where I sit! :-) I would love to see what some Lori Anderson handmade beads would look like though!

  31. I'm 51 and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

  32. Another great post. I had this hit me last week. I like my job and I'm happy there, but I'm at the point in my career where I'm realizing I could spend the next 30 years in the same spot. Is that what I want? What do I want? Am I overthinking it? I just don't know.

  33. I think all creative people go through this soul searching sort of phase every once in a while. I have no doubt you will get where you need to go, even if you don't know quite yet where that might be. You're an amazingly talented person with much to give. I'm so glad I get to come along and watch you grow (via the blog).

  34. I wish I had words of wisdom for you. I don't. But if you do what makes you HAPPY (within legal boundaries of course) you can't go wrong. It's wonderful you have a husband to share all this with. Have you ever read the bloggess? She sort of covers this subject with a shot of humor:

  35. Dear are actually writing about many of us in this life we live. There are so many stages/chapters and they change completely and without pre-warning so that we might be ready for the challenges. I am clearly on a path of unknown outcome. I am done working for a living just to be used and unappreciated by others. I clearly do not sell my wares to support my living expenses, yet I am the happiest I have ever been. Fortunately I have a wonderful husband who supports me and is no longer living to make money. I have always said, "money is not the end all be all". There is so much more to life and being happy. May you and each of all of us find our own personal path to happiness and enjoy this journey...
    Thank you for always being honest and speaking your words from your heart...

  36. Your post makes me think of my journey- so many health issues, so much joy, sorrow along the way, and so many growing pains.
    I have no words of wisdom for you... just thoughts from a fellow traveler.

    I find delight in confidently knowing that I am a good mom and wife, too. Those parts of my identity are very important to me.
    But there has to be more- a place that is just "mine", where I am nurtured and fed.

    I know that I was created to do more than just fill space-
    I was created to bring life, light and beauty to those around me. Right now, the best way for me to do that is to participate fully in my family, to work in my girl's school as a reading tutor, and to share my passion for nature through my jewelry.

    I find my life goes in seasons- during the summer I mostly sell, do custom orders and focus on my family. During fall and Christmas I work, produce for and sell at shows.
    And spring! Spring is when I have time to take a metal-smithing class. To explore new ideas and techniques. Still taking care of my family...

    I love all these seasons, but I am never completely at peace... I am still restless. Perhaps that's the artist in me? Straining towards that perfect moment when everything comes together? Fighting the perfectionist in my brain?
    Perhaps it's knowing that this is not my 'home'?

    I wish you joy in your journey, and light along the way.

  37. Oh wonderful lady... I know so well what it is like to be uncertain of how you feel about yourself and who you are. That's how I feel much of the time. All I can say is that reading your blog always always fills me with hope and inspiration and admiration. Whatever you do, wherever you go, know that there are those who are grateful for you!

  38. Anonymous10:49 PM

    How exciting to embark on this self-discovery journey ... with so many options (and talents), it can be hard to carve out the path that feels right. I know you'll share some important things about it -- thank you in advance for that.

    And thank you for that image of the pain of clothes shopping ... been there, Lori ... although you put such a fine point on it I almost spit wine out of my nose when I read that one ... am definitely going to borrow that line some time, and when I do I'll smile and think of you.

  39. I think I'm going to get that book. Both my husband and I don't really know what we want to do when we grow up. (He's 34 and I'm 29). We both just know that we don't want to do what we're doing now for the rest of our lives. Good luck in your search. Change is scary but faith and family can get you through anything.

  40. Thanks for such a timely post. As I see from some of the other comments, I'm not the only one feeling similar feelings and having similar thoughts - nor are you!

    Great suggestion on the book as well!

  41. I really enjoy your jewelry designs/beads and your blog writing, so my vote is for you to take jewelry design books to a whole new level! Combine your gorgeous designs with your inspiring and witty writing. And continue your blog because I love reading it! I do agree with you on doing what you love for a living and not letting a salary amount define success. Do I ever understand that! My advice is Follow Your Heart. Do What You Love. We are on this planet for such a short time that we need to spend as much time as possible doing what makes us happy! Oh, and thanks for the book recommendation. I just ordered it off of Amazon after reading your post.

  42. There are times that I feel that I am an extremely shallow person as I never seem to have these deep conversations with myself. I really tend to be happy within myself. If I am not happy then I wait an opportunity to change and be happy again. For me at least, I have found that the Universe always provides as long as you are willing to work at it. Oh and pay it homage.

    And I know that you aren't looking for suggestions but me being me, I am going to toss one out. You are so supportive for everyone and patient with beginners. Why don't you start a mentor program?

  43. Oh Lori, another great post. I deeply appreciate your thoughts and I just wanna say thank you for taking us on your journey. Where ever you go - I will follow you as long as you want me too:-)

  44. Reading ur blog struck an inner chord in me. My friends tell me that I have the perfect life... An amazing husband, a loving son, a beautiful family, freedom to do what I love the most (learning all that I can about jewelry making).... But, when I sit down and think about my life... I somehow feel empty, restless....lost... I am still looking for something to fill this void in me... I feel I am yet to discover my identity... To realise who "I" am. But, I am looking forward to this journey. It feels good to be able to share this with someone who would understand how I am feeling.... hang in there dear!! There is a saying in my native tongue that goes like 'this would pass too'. Everything moves on... Nothing is permanent and so it is with these feelings... U will attain what u love very soon....

    With lots of luv and hugs...


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