what am i supposed to do now?

working through a bit of angst these days.  everything in my life changed, rather suddenly, on jan. 1 (when i left work) and it’s just catching up to me now. i find myself asking myself, what am i supposed to do now? there are days that are just endless boredom. photography – a centerpiece of my life for so long – now just feels like masturbation (pardon my french.) i do it, and i sometimes enjoy it, but my own personal pleasure just doesn’t seem to be enough any more. i don’t know what i want out of it – i guess other people enjoying my “work” as much as i do would be nice. i tried making photographs in my little basement studio, but that got a bit boring – photography for me has always been about what i call “accepting light,” finding interesting light that exists out in the world and, well, accepting it into my camera. the studio stuff was more about creating the thing to be photographed rather than the photography – it was more about creating the light than accepting it, if that makes any sense. and i found i have little talent or patience for that.

so i tried painting, something i had never done before. it was fun for a little while, splattering old housepaint on boards. but it all began to look the same, like spin-art. not to mention that the studio is in the basement, and i just can’t do those stairs any more.

and the same with my writing. yeah, i get differing amounts of pleasure out of it, and that’s great. but is there anything beyond that? what’s the point? does there need to be a point? it reminds me of when i left paid employment to be the full-time dad for my kids. i lost the kind of external approval for what i was doing that i got from working for someone else – satisfied boss or client, a paycheck, etc. the same now – i can take pictures that I like, but there’s no boss or client approving or disapproving, no raise – ha, no paycheck at all – no peer approval, none of the external measures by which i was able to judge my performance. my own enjoyment just doesn’t seem to be enough any more.

and i probably could figure out the answer, if i gave it a little thought, but what am i supposed to do now? who am i now?

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3 thoughts on “what am i supposed to do now?

  1. Stephen I have those same EXACT questions every day, exactly, and that’s of course without MS, but I want you to know that you would likely have those questions even if you were 100% healthy. You are a very talented writer and painter and I think you should go for it…write a book!

    Your stories are amazing, and your mind is not limited because you are in a wheelchair. Same for your paintings: Make more, try something different if you are bored with the drippy ones, although I think they are great…go bigger, or all white, or add glitter and pebbles and shells, etc. I will do my best to sell them at my new store….

  2. A valid question…and I am not sure I have any good answers. But let me try.

    It sounds like you need to be involved in something outside the house. I know mobility is an issue…but I don’t know how much of an issue – so I may not be able to make the best suggestions.

    Think about an issue or charity that you are passionate about. Are their opportunities to do volunteer work – one or two days per week…or whatever. Or even is there some support you can give them from home (make phone calls…do paperwork) – something that makes you feel like you are making a contribution.

    How about your community – a planning board, school board, or some other committee position. Most communities also have positions that you can volunteer for that don’t require election.

  3. I totally get it and what you’re going through I would define as “growing pains”.

    To me, MS provides me with the “opportunity” to constantly re invent myself as I deal with the changes. Out with the way things used to be and onward with exploring what I have left to work with.

    I haven’t worked for 3 years now courtesy of MS and it took awhile to get comfy with that.

    I’ll go with what Bob said here as for me, doing some sort of volunteer work has fit the bill in terms of giving, getting outside yourself and warm fuzzy feelings. It is great to take the focus off ME and turn it outward to others. Maybe something like that will work for you?

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