A little over two years ago, I made a decision that changed my life. It was my 40th birthday. I decided to give this art thing a go. No more excuses (and I had a long list of very good ones that had worked for over 20 years.)
|This is the first picture I put on this blog. The paper from a 40th birthday present.|
As many of you know, I will be teaching at the CREATE mixed media retreat in the Chicago area this fall. This afternoon I was taking a look at the CREATE mixed media retreat website. I saw my picture there and thought, "I cannot believe I am really getting to do this!"
These two years have been wonderfully encouraging and I've had so many surprising successes along the way. But along with the creative highs, there have been some painful moments of rejection too. I still struggle regularly with so many creative cringes, wrong turns, humbling moments, and doubtful days when I eat too many cookies and wander in a forlorn funk. It can get downright ugly.
But overall, I am on the path I have longed for all my life. I was just too scared to get on it. I don't know what my future holds or if success will be a part of it. I also don't know if I will always have the opportunity to pursue this life. But I've decided...while I do, I will do it with all my might. For the first time in my life, what I want is not coming quickly or easily. I'm finally chasing a dream.
Here are some of the biggest things I've learned about dream chasing so far.
1) I Must Fight the Urge to Give Up EVERY SINGLE DAY
I used to think that people who talked about never giving up on their dreams were just lucky people. Now I know that all this talk about "never giving up" is a result of the constant temptation to do just that. Every day, I flirt with the idea of just giving up. On rough days, I fantasize about bagging up all my supplies and donating them. On really bad days, I dream about an enormous art bonfire on my parents' farm. See... I told you it was ugly.
2) Going After Your Dreams Will Put You Face to Face with Your Ugly Self
I hate to admit this, but earlier in my life I was quite critical. I didn't give much respect to vendors I saw at a craft show (unless I liked their stuff), artists that expressed themselves in unusual ways, or new artists who hadn't quite perfected their skills. Going after your dreams means exposing your most vulnerable self. I've never felt so humiliated, hurt, and embarrassed in my life. Seeing shoppers pick through and make rude comments about my wares at a craft show, not being selected for inclusion in a contest, and having to remind a gallery owner of my name (when my art is hanging on the wall), well...hello humble pie. This bit of knowledge leads to discovery number 3.
3) Being a Dream Chaser Makes You a Kinder Person
Now that I've had a taste of dream chasing, I have so much respect and flat-out love for the dreamers in this world. My heart has changed. I see those kooky mimes in a whole new light.
4) Dream Chasing Leads to More Dream Chasing
It's like riding a bicycle. Once you get the hang of it, you want to keep riding. You fall off the bike, get your skirt wound up in the chain, and flip over the handle bars every now and then. But the feel of wind in your hair brings you back.
How about you? Are you chasing a dream? What have you learned?