When I was a kid, I was brought up to dream. I was taught that I could be anything I wanted to be.
My brother and I decided we wanted to be zoologists. Every Sunday I resolve to becoming a priest. There was, for a brief moment in time, that I wanted to become a construction laborer, because mixing cement looked like fun. Somewhere there I discovered I could draw and play the guitar. The dreams multiplied. Exponentially.
I later deviated into wanting to become an American Navy SEAL, because Michael Dudikoff was just too cool in VIPER (STFU you wanted it too).
Dreaming was pretty much all I did in grade school. Every victory, every little achievement was a stepping stone. Every failure, every disappointment, a minor setback which will soon be forgotten once I’ve become an ex-navy seal fighting for justice in a cool red roadster and impossibly tight pants.
But today, I’m giving one of those up. Today, I’m giving up painting in acrylics.
Giving up is one of those things we were taught to despise, both in ourselves and others. You quit, you lose. You lose, well, nobody likes you. If nobody likes you it’s because you stink. So quitters are stinkers. Or something.
But I quit. I quit anyway and I felt like shit. But only for a second.
Because right after that I felt a strange calm I haven’t felt in a while. Like my back got a little straighter, or an itch got scratched.
I must admit I was never that good with it anyway, and probably never will be. I’ll probably never be a doctor, either. I’ll probably never cure cancer or learn how to break dance. Now that we’re here, I might as well admit that I’ll probably never be ex-navy seal fighting for justice in a cool red roadster and impossibly tight pants either.
And you know what? That’s ok.
We all have to choose what we want to do, at one point or another. It’ll be later for some folks, sooner for others. But inevitably, we will all have to prune off our extraneous dreams, discard our infatuations, and begin nurturing our loves.
So here’s to clarity! I’ll be sticking to watercolors for the foreseeable future, and I’ve never been this excited about it in my entire life.
Looking forward to buying some watercolor paper tomorrow. I love how it feels in your hand.
Meanwhile, If you’re a Chicago-based artist who needs some acrylic paints, let me know. I’m giving some out.