Goals of the Artist

Wow, another day. Another year.

2014… how did this happen?

It’s amazing just how fast life passes us by. I don’t know why the beginning of a new year is when this always becomes so glaringly obvious. Maybe, it’s that whole new beginnings spiel that makes us take pause as we give ourselves that moment to think back on the year before to see if it actually amounted to anything. Sometimes it did, and sometimes it really didn’t. What can you say? Just as each passing day has the distinct possibility of being better or worse than the subsequent day before, some years follow the same pattern of being better than others. This is by no singular fault of our own, only the natural ebb and flow of life. We’re not always in control of the life we live and the events that shape us, but what we are in control of is how we choose to react to these events and how much ‘life’ we put into each day. One of the few things that is absolutely certain is that we are not the same person at the end of the year as the one that went into the fresh, new year with all those dazzling hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow.

Yet, that’s not a bad thing.

2013 may not have been my best year, but it wasn’t a complete waste either. No year ever is. Good or bad, each day that is now in the past was still a part of shaping us into the person we are today, and will continue to evolve into tomorrow and the days following that.

It’s never the easiest thing to do, but each day we have to pick ourselves up and keep moving forward. We never know what lies just beyond that horizon until we take the steps forward to cross it. In a way, we are all like the mythical phoenix: rising from the ashes of yesterday and rising again each morning. The problem is that we too often allow our days to remain stagnant continuations of the day before, each one blurring into the next with nothing to show for it, just taking our time for granted. I’ll admit, I’m just as guilty as others are of this malady, and of course, I’d like to change it.  Maybe I would make a goal and a resolution of it, if I did such things.

However, the thing is that I haven’t made new year’s resolutions in years… not because I don’t carry the ambition to follow them through, but because I don’t believe in the idea of it all. Then again, I’ve never followed the crowd, have I, and I’m proud of that. No, to me, making lists of grand ideas doesn’t bring you any closer to achieving those inflated goals. More often than not, that list just stands as a solid reminder of our failures at the end of the year when it comes to a close. Instead of working towards these goals, it just seems to me that we spend more time staring at that list of what had all seemed like good ideas at the time, in that shiny and blinding haze of new beginnings and molding ourselves into a different and improved person.

Now, I’m not saying I’m devoid of goals and ambitions… I have just as many, if not more as any other person. I just choose to keep a generalized list in my head, because, once again, like riding an ocean wave, life pulls us along in directions that we sometimes never intended. The thing is that sometimes our greatest achievements in life are those things that we had never envisioned in the first place. If life throws you a bone of a different shape, we shouldn’t immediately deny the opportunity just because it wasn’t sketched out on some list we made in the past… because tomorrow, that’s just what today will be: a day in the past.

A thought that has occurred to me in the past is that one of the most dangerous phrases in the english language is “I Can’t.” In reality, it puts a stop on even the beginnings of motivation and should actually read more along the lines of “I won’t even try.” You know, if more people viewed it that way, it might help kick them into gear and allow them to get things done, because read that way, it comes across more as a statement of quitting and weakness, and no one likes that. You never know what you can do until you at least give it a try.

Moving on into the realm of goals… I said that I don’t make new year’s resolutions, and that’s true, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t intend to better myself at least a little bit here and there. My biggest problem is that I am and will always be an artist, and that in itself poses a whole new set of problems.

An artist’s goals are ever changing, but one thing that constantly remains the same is the indefinite goal, and creator of internal struggles, of improving our work. Yet, it’s that want of absolute perfection that often holds us back from our goals, that poisonous mindset of what good is even trying if it’s not going to be right. But, who is to say what is right or wrong? The thing is that we need to realize that perfection is a fleeting ideal, and is, in fact, a lie. There is no such thing as perfection… even nature knows this. As a matter of fact, there are times when those little imperfections are a cause, not for sorrow or frustration, but instead, celebration.

So, I have decided not to make this a year of striving towards perfection, but of celebrating mistakes.

I will never get better at anything if I always stop halfway through a project in frustration because my writing or my art isn’t lining up with razor sharp precision to the striking vision in my head, and I think that it’s high time that I realized that and lived by that. My art is what I live for and though I may fail time and time again, I plan on drawing and painting and writing to my heart’s content this year, and if this is the year that it finally all amounts to something, than it will pan out that way.

Here’s to the new year, full of beautiful mistakes!