Forgive me. This week I am presenting the biggest cliché ever; being true to yourself.
I’ve lived a wise, old 40 years *wink, wink*. This may come as a surprise, but I’ve made some mistakes along the way. For starters, did I mention I am 40? Forty. And I’ve only recently been working seriously towards my life-long dream. Some moments it can kinda feel like I blew it.
That being said, I don’t think I could have done it before now. If I focus on the years I “lost” along the way I am staring down a deep dark pit. But if I really consider what could have been, I know I wasn’t ready. I didn’t believe in myself, but that’s not the half of it. I didn’t know who I was. Some people are great at being totally and completely all their own selves. My husband is one of them. He is the most driven individual I know, and he thrives on knowledge and developing his own opinions rather than jumping on band wagons. It’s not that he stubbornly sticks to his ways. He studies, researches, analyzes and considers. When discussing his points of view, his go-to phrase is that he “doesn’t read articles”, he “reads studies”. He, frankly, is impossible to argue with.
I, on the other hand, spent the first decade of my adult years taking on all of the opinions and attributes of family and friends I most respected. I was a clone without even realizing it. I was/am a people pleaser and sometimes it affects my ability to see things clearly.
Additionally, my art was frankly not at the same level as it is now. I had a period of time right out of college where I tried to create abstract art. Having just graduated from the very conceptual School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I could say I was attempting to stretch myself as an artist, but the truth is I wanted to build up a quick body of work and chose the easiest way I could think of. I’m not putting down abstract artists. No doubt there are those with a different mind than myself that can spend days and months working to get an abstract work *just right*, but for me it was a means to an end. I was attempting to find a shortcut. This left me disatisfied. Then depressed. And finally to returning to a software career and putting my future as an artist to the side.
Here I am, 13 years and 4 kids later. I now know a lot more about myself as a person and as an artist. Facing my mortality challenged me to be patient in the process and push my art to a new level. I’ve learned a few other things along the way.
There are no shortcuts.
Success will not fall in my lap.
Working diligently produces confidence.
I must continue to work hard and never give up for as long as my mind and body will allow me.
I will fight to push away that little voice that says I can’t.
Maybe it’s not just about being true to yourself. It’s about determining who you are and persistantly working towards an even better you. It’s never too late to
follow work hard for your dreams.