Hi, *awkward wave*. I know I have been MIA for quite a while, in fact, since I left my job way back when. I hope no one’s held it against me. I could sit here and go through all that’s happened since, but I’d rather focus on the here and now.
I will say this: a lot HAS happened since then. Hell, look at us, we’re in 2013! We survived the Mayan apocalypse! If that’s not a worthy accomplishment, I don’t know what is.
All jokes aside though, one of my targets this year is to put aside more time for this blog and hopefully not leave huge gaps in-between posts.
With all of that being said, let’s get on with the topic of the day:
Following your dreams!
Now, before I start to lose you, I ask you to please bear with me as I promise to make this as uncheesy as possible for all those with lactose-intolerance.
Do I think I’m Oprah or Dr. Phil here? No – neither will I try to be – but as cliché as that phrase sounds, it rings true. You should follow your dreams. As long as you do it within reason and you realize what it takes to do so (yes, I had to add a dash of realism there to keep this post grounded). I mean, if you don’t follow your dreams, what else is there?
We all have a bit of a bad habit where we like to sit on our butts amidst cups of tea or coffee and yummy sugary treats to complain about our lives, failing to notice how little we are doing to change that. Very few people are satisfied with their lot in life after university, no one is happy with the jobs they ended up with and it is very easy to sit there and whinge about it.
Here’s the thing though, if you have a “dream”, there’s a reason for it. These things don’t just happen by a weird twist of fate. And I mean, you can call it whatever you want: goals, visions, objectives, aspirations, whatever makes you feel comfortable, but know that there is a valid reason you have that desire in you. To go after something you want requires courage, but not only that, it requires a massive amount of confidence. You can’t be afraid, or timid, or uncertain. And even if you were, the key is in pretending you’re not. It’s how you hold yourself and what you project to those around you. “The only way anyone learns anything is by pretending that they knew how to do it in the first place.”
No is the easiest and most abused word on the planet. It is so easy to look at someone and tell them no, and trust me, at one point it will feel like everyone around you is telling you no. And it could feel very discouraging, and make it easier for you to give up and give in, because no one is immune to that word. But remember this, as long as you are telling yourself yes, then that is all that matters. One person counts and can make all the difference. Even if that person is you. (I know I’m starting to sound like Terrence from Yes Man, but I actually mean it).
The reason I’m writing all this and going through this whole thought process is because a few weeks ago I attended my friend’s first solo art exhibition. I’m sure all artists, or aspiring artists, can relate to the difficulty of planning, preparing and carrying out your own exhibition, let alone being presented with the opportunity. This is something that Dona, my friend, has been working towards for many years, and it has always been one of her life-long aspirations to be able to share her art and her talent with people.
When she received this opportunity, after a series of several coincidences (and isn’t that what makes life so beautiful?), I remember sitting with her over coffee and asking her how she felt. She seemed a little at awe that it was happening at all. It took a while for it to sink in, and before she knew it, she was locked up in her apartment for hours and days and weeks on end surrounded by paint fumes as she attempted to get all her art pieces ready in time for the big opening night.
What really wows me about Dona is that she is a self-taught artist. Her talent is a true gift, something that she refined and polished on her own. She found the style she felt comfortable with, and used her art as a personal outlet to express her emotions and reflect her long bittersweet journey in life. Throughout the years, her art was her own, and she was content for a time to practice it as a hobby during her free time.
However, there was always this inner desire for more. It was always an aspiration for her to delve deeper into this world of art, to do something with it, to share it with the world and perhaps inspire others to do the same.
She definitely accomplished that with her exhibition State of Mind, as you witness her experiences splashed onto the walls of the gallery (some of the art pieces are displayed below). She stood there proudly, head held high, as she exposed herself to all those around her through her paintings. I have to admit, that night, seeing the light in her eyes and the happiness written all over her face, I finally knew what it looked like to follow a dream and see it realized. That drive will define you, and once you make it a reality, you can turn to all the nay-sayers with pride as no one can tell you what you can and cannot do any longer (insert back-handed snap here).
A word of caution though, and this goes back to my attempt at pragmatism at the beginning, I strongly believe that if you are to follow a dream, you should do it within reason. Dreams will never be fulfilled without hard work and effort. Dreaming is easy. The secret is in knowing that you want to do the work it takes to get there.
I know that this is only the beginning for my friend, Dona, and that she is on a new journey that I am sure we will see reflected in her future artwork.
Now go out there, and stop being afraid!