I welcome you; you as a fellow writer, artist, entrepreneur and craftsperson.
You might be wondering why I did not greet any doctors, nor any engineers. Or perhaps what reason I had for not greeting any of you students out there.
It’s not that I have a beef nor a grudge with the Doctors of our world – I like Doctors as much as the next guy, especially whenever they fix my broken arm which frankly is, way too often.
But here’s the thing: I’d like to think of everyone as an artist.
We’re all artists in a certain way. We’re the designers and the painters of our own lifes. Of our own fates. Painting the picture that is our life.
Each and everyone of us starts out with the exploration phase – this is the part were we go on a journey within our own mind and feelings, to figure out what it is we want to paint; what we want to create. The Idea.
Then, slowly, we begin with the sketch. We start sketching out the overall picture – at this point we pretty much know where we want to be in the end. What our final goal is with the painting.
But this phase is often the hardest part: Actually beginning. Putting the first stroke on the canvas. Approaching the dark and intimidating unknown can be a hard task, daunting and scary.
After our first steps most of us feel either one way or another:
- You feel great. This was the most amazing idea ever. You’ve finally found your place in the world and nothing can stop you now. You’re ready to move onward into the coloring of the painting. The rendering.
- You feel uncertain. Confused and regretful. The idea was so terrible that you decided it would be best to simply start the whole thing over. Begin anew on a another painting.
– or maybe you feel something completely different, perhaps something in between.
If, however, you’ve decided to move on – to commit to the painting and finishing it – the next phase is the actual painting.
This is the part where you add all the colors, all the details. It’s finally possible to see what the painting is going to be all about. You add the theme, maybe a car, maybe a house or a dog. Maybe a tiger, and a big van, with everything you need to travel the world within it.
This is the part where we feel somewhat at peace. It’s possible to relax and just enjoy the ride, all the while looking forward to the finished painting. A sense of safety is achieved.
Then – one day – we’re finally there. The painting is complete! The house has the most polished wodden wall, or did you choose to paint it in bricks? Or maybe, once again, perhaps you decided to build it in a whole other way – with marshmallows for walls.
Perhaps the house isn’t a house at all.
Anyhow – everything looks just the way you want it to, and it’s time to hang up the painting on the wall and admire it. To feel satisfied with your life’s work. The painting you’re looking at is the blood and tears of your hard work and you should feel good about it. You deserve it.
Some of us, however, aren’t as satisfied with the final piece.
How on earth did that fine-rendered azalea in the garden become like that?
It looks like something Hades himself crapped out after eating rotten dog food. That’s not the flower you intended it to be. This is not the painting you originally aimed for, it’s nothing like your original idea.
At this point you will most likely frantically dig into your painting. Desperately clinging to your finished piece. The idea of what it could have been is preventing you from giving it up. Maybe, just maybe, if you add a little bit of a purple hint or, perhaps, if you paint another brushstroke in a different direction – then maybe, you can fix it.
The truth is – you rarely can.
Beating a dead horse, as the saying goes, is not very productive. The horse is not going to magically resurrect and fix the painting for you. It’s just going to lay there, as it’s dead.
Often times it’s just better to start over from scratch. Something was most likely fundamentally wrong already in the sketch phase, you just didn’t notice it in the beginning. You’ve learned so much over the years that you’ve become so much more experienced and knowledgeable since you began that it’s first now you’re able to see all the faults in the original sketch and you think it’s too late to fix them.
It isn’t. It’s just not possible to fix it without starting over. And let me say this: It’s never too late to start over. If your painting is completed when you turn fourty years of age, it ain’t too late. Hell, if it’s not even completed before the time you turn eighty it’s not too late for change, or for the rediscovering your dreams, for that matter.
Just don’t be too afraid of the unknown. I know, the unknown can be scary. But it isn’t nearly as scary when you’ve actually entered it. When you’re inside the dark forest it’s not nearly as terrifying as it was from the view from your own house.
But I know the feeling. The feeling you have inside your pleasantly heated living room, your cosy scented candles and that fresh cup of tea feels so safe and delightful that there’s just no reason to leave it.
And maybe you’re right. Maybe there is no reason to leave that impregnable fortress of yours.
But then again, you’ll never get to experience the dazzling beauty of fireflies in the night. You’ll never get to watch the sparkling stars in the night without interfering street-lights.
Neither will you experience the wonders of a dark, serene forest.
The wonders of a new painting.
But then again, what the heck do I know. I’m just a random person, sitting on my couch, writing my thoughts out on the internet.
Welcome to my blog. The blog of a placid writer.
And finally, I’d like to share this photo of a possessed-looking deer a friend of mine took on our trip to Japan.