A while back I wrote an article about how I needed to remove some things from my life that I felt were distracting me. Mostly physical items that would remind me of other activities I could do but also being a part of some online communities that I was a contributor to. Removing those certainly helped... but after a while I determined there was more that needed to be done. And some of those moves were ones I didn't think I'd ever make.
When I had originally made that post I had still planned on staffing cons like San Japan and MAGFest. I felt that I still needed to be a part of the media teams since we were producing such good work and it needed to continue.
After a while I really started to rethink that position.
Staffing and running teams at cons take up a good chunk of personal resources. Especially when you have to consider things like getting time off of work (yes, I do have a day job). So there's many factors at play when you're in these particular situations. And these factors could take away from spending time on your own creative work. While they can contribute to creative works I had to really consider if the time and energy I was putting into them was really worthwhile.
The big piece to this was MAGFest. After MAGWest I started pondering sliding out of my department head position and becoming a staff photographer instead. I had a few people in mind that I knew could take my place and do an amazing job. Plus I had some photo essay ideas in mind that I thought could present the event in an interesting way.
But then there were a number of personal things that happened that made me wonder if I should go at all. I was on the fence because I was still intrigued by doing some of the photo projects plus a couple of my favorite chiptune artists from Japan were going to perform. But even during this time I had to think if I was trying to convince myself to go.
The after considering the time and resources needed... I decided not to.
To be honest I felt so much better after I made that decision. I didn't realize how much mental bandwidth it would free up after making that choice.
Not long after that I resigned from MAGFest.
There would be one more needed part to this however.
I recently rearranged some of the art I had in my office and living room because I recognized that I needed some reminders about the work I was doing. I've had prints made of some of the work I've done that hung in the living room but decided to move them to the office so I could always see them when I'm working on my own art.
One large space that I had was what I called the badge wall. There hung all of the badges from all the cons and festivals I had attended and was a big part of over the years.
I took them down and packed them away.
I realized that I had tied these to my creative identity for a long time. And while I have done amazing work there and helped enable others to do the same... it just wasn't who I am anymore.
It took me quite a while to come to all of this. I think the question that kept coming up when I had all these distractions around was "what if I could do something with this?" There was a great term I learned for this years ago: paralysis of opportunity.
I had to learn to move again. And the therapy was unexpected but necessary.
Now I can move forward.