Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Elegant Stress

Lindsey is out of the frying pan and into the fire. I think there's a rock and a hard place in there, too. What a week and a half!

To recap: I went back to Provo last week to walk across the stage and receive my shining white diploma cover (I was mailed the diploma itself in January :) I'm on the last month of my internship at the Hirshhorn. I didn't get the job that I coveted here (though I gave it an incredible shot and it felt good to try. And one of the senior staff members sent me a kind email basically telling me, "Good game. Try again after you get a couple years' experience under your belt.") I got into my #1 pick for grad school, The George Washington University's Art History Master's program. I can start in the fall. But I am really getting disconcerted by the level of debt my studies will accrue, and the fact that there is absolutely no promise of employment, or hire-ability (especially not in this economic climate) once I graduate. The idea of taking a full-time job and hugging tight to its stable salary and health insurance coverage winks alluringly my way.

Be timid, employed, and resourceful. Follow your dreams and get wildly into debt. Oh what a tangled web we weave... when first our dreams we try to achieve!! Any advice, family?

Other thoughts and ideas bouncing around the fire with me: Virginia is beautiful in the spring. Greener that any place I've ever lived in. Truly, this is the first location I can ever remember where I can watch things grow, and grow wildly, without a human hand begging them forward. Daffodils, my favorite flowers, dot every long stretch of grass that runs intermittently alongside the 395 beltway. There are four trees outside my third floor window (they’re my morning breakfast companions). Two weeks ago they all flowered pink, and when I came home from Utah they had switched to a full-bodied, emerald green foliage. I recently read in one of my many art reviews (or was it a political essay? Aah I absorb so many of both out here!) how culture and science have replaced a connection with nature and religiosity in the modern life. SUCH A SHAME!

Elegant Stress. That's what I named this post. The present, er MY present, is one giant kaleidoscope of beauty, temptation, clarity, dreams, fragility, loneliness, AWESOME memories, glamour, frustration, and opportunity! Somewhere in there is a lot of love, but it's really hard to feel it out here in DC sometimes. Now I know, I know… stop whining!!! I'm incredibly thankful for my time in Provo, and all the playtime I got with family and my amazing friends there! And I am so grateful that I have exciting opportunities headed my way. I just need to decide, and enjoy the ride. In Provo I drank in the now-rare experience of being surrounded by people who share my ideals, who love life the way I do and are working hard and calling on God the same way I am. I ran around a dark cabin playing sardines with my friends for hours on end. I got to hug almost all of my BFFs, and I got to dance with all the Browns twice! Once at my graduation party (Thanks Aunt Betty and Uncle Gary! As always, you’re AMAZING!) and once at Jonathan’s wedding (congrats!). There’s something magical and timeless about being around people who will buy me a mug just because they think the cute saying on it resembles my handwriting. Or who will give me a card they bought three years ago because they noticed it made fun of art history degrees. Hee hee- I love you all!

And then I fly back to DC, and the warm fuzzy of Provo evaporates. Underdog, Lindsey! Underdog! You’ve got to fight! Immediately I am inundated with thoughts about how much there is to despise about modern life-- networking, the hideous strappy platforms currently in vogue, Obama, Obamamaniacs, Blackberrys, Bono’s ineffectual ONE campaign, Matthew Barney’s happenings in LA that ended up getting some of the crowd hurt, energy price hikes, Statist control of Congress, etc etc etc!! Boo!

Elegant, modern stress. I’m sorry. As a wise conservative once said, “Calamity is unhappily the usual season of reflection,” and I am no stranger to that tendency. ODviously. (What movie??) But as another conservative recently said (in bumper sticker form):

Annoy a Liberal: Work Hard and Be Happy!

Hee hee… no wonder the 19th century saw a resurgence of Utopian and escapist landscapes. Artists were sick of watching their countrysides turn into smoke-belching factories, as the Industrial Revolution altered Europe forever. And so they turned their paintbrushes into “Remember when…” sticks and waved them around until they were completely surrounded by cutesy pictures of peasants and ponds. Heaven forbid contemporary art do that. They’re certainly doing something these days. I don’t want to do a new artwork today. No more art. Nope, I won’t go there. I’m too tired. It’s too confusing out there…

Hee hee. Bah Humbug.

Lucas Samaras, Book No. 6 ("Treasures of the Metropolitan"), 1962. Straight pins, glue, and book in a plexiglass case on wood base.

That’s a lot of pins. And a painful read. Why do I get the feeling this artist shares my current distaste? (notice the title- why would he have chosen to cover a book from America’s most prestigious art museum with spikey pins?? Curious…)

Life is Good.

PS photos of my fabulous graduation to follow shortly. Once I upload them to my shiney new-ish work laptop. :) Have the best day ever.


raquel said...

go get your masters and don't worry about debt. I promise my debt is worse.

Jayci said...

Don't you LOVE living somewhere where plants and other green things grow naturally?! Those trees out your window sound looovely. :)

Congrats on graduating. Here's my idea to cut back on some of the soon-to-be-acquired debt. I bet you could get a writing job somewhere with your blog as a portfolio of sorts. You write so well! You could write about young single life in a big city + art interests. I would be a fan!!! :oD oh wait. I am!!

That book no. 6 looks awfully spindly!! and pokey.

Olsen Family said...

You'll figure it out. Go to the Washington D.C. Temple, walk the grounds, do some baptisms, watch the Joseph Smith movie, wander the visitor center, and pray!! I have found the best answers after a day of spiritual upliftment and sacrifice!!

MOM said...

Couldn't have said it better Maria. Lindsey, I know you'll figure it out; you always do. The Lord's there for you as always. It'll be interesting to see what opens up! Love you! MOM

Ashley said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU! LINDS! Seeing you was the highlight and I can't wait to come visit you! I know the Lord has a plan for you and it is going to be far better than you ever dreamt for yourself!

Judy Anne said...

As much as I love to learn, you must decide if this is what is in your life plan. Debt is a master-a slave driver that never lets up. Education is a gift that never stops giving: so, you must decide if this is the part of the kingdom the Lord wants you to serve in, or if there is another place, less grand, that needs your service. Pray, fast, ponder, search, and listen to the still small voice.
Now, I went through grad school as a TA. Is that a possibility? Josh is working at a place that offers tuition after he completes each semester. I don't know your field, but, taking time to decide your course is a wise action plan. We all need faith that everything will work out, but you can't ignore the reality of the burden of debt. I love you and will support your decision and life choice.

M.C. said...

From a purely practical standpoint, if you are going to go back to school, now is probably the best time financially. However, I totally understand the debt and education v. full-time job and money dilemma. I like to think of myself as a romantic and say, "Just go for it," but I've also stayed up at night stressing out as I try to figure out ways to come up with cash and love the feeling of knowing that I have a paycheck coming along with benefits. However, one thing I have learned is that if you want something badly enough, it seems like there is always a way. Things somehow always work out when we pursue our goals. So I say do whatever your heart tells you and know that you have all of us as support-- even if we are across the country :(