The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave it neither power nor time. – Mary Oliver
I circled back to this quote time and again last week, as I sat down to refine my why, my purpose. Why do I do what I do? Why do I think it is important? What do I want to offer to the world? What is my legacy?
As someone who doesn’t have children, my work is my legacy. This isn’t the 9-5 job, but The Work that defines me, that fills me with joy, that nourishes me. For me, that is art…soulful living…tarot…the intersection between the three, which, for me, is the area of magic and mystery and growth and healing.
There are times when it is all flowing and eddying around beautifully, and I am at peace. There are times when there are creative plateaus, during which I have a lot of fallback options…in journaling, tarot inquiry, and constant learning. And there are times when everything gets tangled up in the weight of society’s expectations and the constant battle cry of monetization and not enoughness and external markers of success.
Figuring out my legacy: the questions that plague me
During these tangled times, I find myself plagued by questions that seem to have no answers.
- Is my worth measured in the number of comments and likes my art or writing receives?
- Is success marked by the number of tarot readings I do for clients each month? In art sales? In the number of workshops I host?
- Is my enoughness defined by the car I drive or the brands I flaunt, in the holidays I go for and the resorts I stay in?
- Why am I even thinking about defining my legacy?
I dropped out of the rat race a long time ago. I’m not chasing promotions, a higher designation, a fancier job. I’m happy with a 9to5 that pays me decently well and gives me good work-life balance, so I have the resources to follow my passions. Sometimes, I wonder if I am silly – my passions are not making me rich and famous. They’re the quiet kind of joys: painting, reading the tarot, cuddling the cats, practicing my own unique brand of magic in my life.
To the outside world, they may not be as visible as a flashy car and fancy holidays. To the outside world, it may well look like I have given up, or am not smart enough to get a fancier job. And sometimes I wonder if that is true.
Defining my legacy
But then I think of the Mary Oliver quote above – I hear that call to creative work – to exploring my subconscious through art, to offer tarot readings that are filled with wisdom and healing, to weave together the tarot and art and healing and magic. And I remember that I AM Creative; and if I am not creating, if I give it up in the pursuit of shiny things, then I dim and dull my own magic.
At the end of the day, choosing this life of creative inquiry, defining my own parameters of success, creating a life that is different from the one that is prescribed – isn’t that my legacy?
What do you think? Have you ever thought about the legacy that you’re living, and through that living, leaving behind?
If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy my monthly letters – Gypsy Wanderings.