My Birthday & Thoughts About Getting Older

bday

This past Saturday I turned 32. I know, I know 32 is not really old, but still I feel ancient sometimes. Like I can’t believe I lived this long. Really, though I do not feel 32 or at least how I expected to feel at 32. When you are younger you have an idea of how you’d like your life to play out, but it never does. At least, I’ve never met a person who successfully obtained their ideal childhood dream life to a “T”.

Anyway, I planned on writing this big post about my Birthday and post a bunch of pictures but, the more I thought about it, I felt it was more important to focus on how life transitions unexpectedly. Life is all about experiences, whether they are good or bad, each molds us into who we are today and continues to do this for the rest of our lives.

We all tend to focus on the negative aspects of aging. Our bodies aren’t as strong, we have unexplained aches and pains, and the worst of all, wrinkles.  We try our hardest to avoid the realty that everything is going to change some day and by doing this we start to take people and things for granted. It is important to remind ourselves of the possibility that our lives may change in an instant and the most rewarding part of life is that we get to experience it.

I struggle with accepting change. Specifically, I have had so many people come in and out of my life that have changed me for the better. I get all nostalgic when thinking of them and wish that they were still apart of my life. Some have passed on, others have moved into a new chapter of their lives, and there are a few that I still speak to sporadically because we swore we’d keep in touch.

While I am saddened by the loss of some of them I am still very thankful. I am even thankful of those who were a part of negative chapters of my life.

Someone told me a saying that has stuck with me for years; “it is what it is.” Meaning, you just have to accept things for what they are worth. This is the most important thing I’ve learned in the past 32 years.

As Robert Frost said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

And, ending on a not so serious note, here are a few pictures from my Birthday weekend.

cheese

Husband said the magic word, “kitties!”

cake

The BEST chocolate peanut butter cake.

shoes

$70 shoes from DSW for $15. Yay for Birthday coupons!

purse

And yes, I did get my purse!

sincerelysignature

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The art of giving ourselves credit for the smallest victories

As an “artist” I find that I constantly compare my work with other peoples. I put artist in quotation marks because I do not feel confident enough to call myself one. When I look at the amazing artwork of Mark Ryden or Tara Mcpherson I am mesmerized by the perfection of their pieces. Then I look at my work in comparison and see the sad realization that I will never be as good as them.

As the saying goes we are our own worst critics. By comparing ourselves to others we are actually judging ourselves. This leaves us full of self-doubt. We adopt the notion that we will never be good enough. Our motivation actually decreases when we are hard on ourselves.

So the question is how do we stop comparing ourselves? Rather then looking at the work of others, start looking at YOUR work. Pull out an old sketch book and compare it with some of your recent work. Look at your own progression as an artist. We are constantly becoming better at things as time goes on. We learn new techniques and with practice our potential is limitless.

When you start to really think about it comparing ourselves with others is actually illogical.
After all no two people are the same. Each of us posses unique experiences that influence our own person style. Take into account all the things we could learn or improve on if we see the work of other artists as inspiration rather then competition.

As an example I used to hate drawing hands and would try to avoid putting them in my work. Years later I learned a new technique and now I do not mind it as much. Actually I kind of like drawing them now. Look at my progression:

old hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of drawing out fingers I decided to try to make them wrap around the subjects shoulder. You can barely tell they are fingers.

 

2014 hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a quick sketch I did last night of a hand. It isn’t amazing but in comparison I have come very far from where I was years ago. The more often I practice the better I will become.

I remember seeing the phrase, “the art of giving ourselves credit for the smallest victories” somewhere online as I began to write this post. The statement really stood out to me. I believe it is important that we gives ourselves credit for our accomplishments no matter how big or how small.

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Nobody In The Boat – A Taoist parable

If a man is crossing a river
And an empty boat collides with his own skiff,
Even though he be a bad-tempered man
He will not become very angry.
But if he sees a man in the boat,
He will shout at him to steer clear.
If the shout is not heard, he will shout again,
And yet again, and begin cursing.
And all because there is somebody in the boat.
Yet if the boat were empty,
He would not be shouting, and not angry.

If you can empty your own boat
Crossing the river of the world,
No one will oppose you,
No one will seek to harm you.

I must remind myself of this while driving.