In need of therapeutic advice for an artist! What do you make of this?

"I've been creatively active in a plethora of different fields and media (pop music having been the most prolific endeavour so far), however in recent years I've been mostly struggling to comprehend my own narrative and to gain a sense of stability and identity within all of my diverse interests and skills. Ironically it seems the more I know, the less I know what to do with it!"

(Image: Pencil drawing by my ~8 years old, Keith-Harring-obsessed child self, on the top ribbon (illegible) I back then wrote "Everything but an artist")


The staggering irony here is that back then I didn't even know how to draw a straight line, yet I was a man with a mission, compulsively filling sketch books with (again: Keith Harring obsession) weird monsters sucking up money. Nowadays I could probably author a semi-algorithmic multimedia opera on the contingency of blablabla in 3 languages but somehow I wouldn't know if that made any more sense than going for a walk in the park instead.

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@freebliss If you think you could explore and learn more taking a walk in the park, maybe it’s the preferable option?

@rostiger I feel I do that a lot already, taking all sorts of metaphorical and literal walks in the park (and it's great!), I perceive a vague fear though that I soon arrive at some zen realization that I needn't do anything else anymore, and for that I currently still feel a bit too driven (and maybe young? haha), hence the fear :)

@freebliss It sounds like you’re in a really good spot. A worthwhile endeavor could be to help others get there too?

@rostiger Definitely. I feel the most valuable contributions I can make to that end lie in the technical/educational field and that's something I've been pursuing and will keep pursuing (I'd want the aforementioned "becoming my own boss" to align with this as well for sure). 👍 Even so I've learned for myself that it's important for me to find more intrinsic (put bluntly: ego-driven) motivational hooks in this as well: Working on abstract standards and voluntarily putting months over months into foundational technology and code can really wear one out, as (understandably) hardly anyone cares about beneficial free software XY until it acutely benefits them and is served exactly at the right time on a perfectly marketed silver platter as well ... ;)

@freebliss Oh, for sure! Personal development and expression is just as important. But I wouldn’t worry too much about building an identity if you don’t need to sell it. Exploring new ways to apply your values in whatever fields pique your interest could be you identity, no?

@rostiger I think that's quite a good way to put it! Accurate as it might be however precisely this identity (which I don't really feel belongs to, or serves, me) is also becoming increasingly unsettling to me: I'm beginning to wonder if my life trajectory of the past ~decade is turning into one huge vaporware story - there's a grand scheme, enthusiasm, development, a respectable set of values, curiosity to innovate, and of course the occasional press release with promising new footage. I so love and believe in the "it's done when it's done" mindset, but it's really getting scary by now when it's my own life story (as a creator of things) that's on the table. :D This is by the way a really great and helpful exchange. I was not super serious about the therapy remark but this is the real deal now, fantastic! ;) I owe you one!

@freebliss I see what you mean. Striking a balance between letting go and holding on enough to keep from floating away can be a challenge. I don’t have an answer for you, but I believe that if you keep looking for that purpose that keeps you on the ground, you will find it.

@freebliss You might already be aware of it, but I came across the 80000 hours website recently and just thought that it might be interesting to you:

@rostiger I have a vague feeling I've read it before, although I don't recall the name. Anyhow great stuff, will study (again). :)

@rostiger No need, you already gave me the questions I needed, super cool :) Yesterday evening really made click, I see now that likely my discomfort does not actually stem from me not knowing what to do with all I know (because evidently I am doing things, day to day!), but that it's more the sense of time that has shifted and introduced worries around my creative life trajectory, which maybe is just fine as it is, given patience and compassionate acceptance of the feeling of uncertainty ... which I can perfectly exercise and cultivate on my metaphorical and literal "walks in the park". Oh how delightful when things make sense. :)

@freebliss Wonderful to hear. It's a journey full of uncertainty for all of us, but that's also what makes it interesting and exciting!

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