Truer words never spoken:
“And lastly, never, never ever give-up. You must believe in you when, no one else does. You must hang-on to your dreams when there is no reason to even hope for the smallest of miracles. If you give yourself a backdoor, chances are you may fold and take it. Life can be full of regrets and ‘what ifs’. Don’t let your priceless dreams be relegated to the dust bin of ‘if only’. If only I had tried harder maybe, just maybe I would have built a professional career as a highly respected fine artist, and my work would become family heirlooms and highly prized someday … ”
— Dave Iles – fine artist (HOW I PAINTED MY WAY TO THE MIDDLE – PART II – Find Part One HERE)
I am such a believer in this. Too many times I hear and read about someone with great promise who throws in the towel because “real life” got in the way.
Real life is always going to get in the way. Every friggin’ day real life is in the way. The path to becoming an artist, a creator, a someone with something to say is a freeway, it is a path without markers much of the time. It is a messy, craggy, dangerous route not for the faint of heart. “Real life” has a clearly marked, signage heavy, overly used tarmac. Lots of “take this turn and buy a house… BECAUSE!” And “get a corporate job with bennies… BECAUSE!” And never forget the “max out the credit cards for Christmas… BECAUSE!”.
Because why? Because that’s the way real life works? Or because everyone else does it?
Real life? Real life pulls us from our dreams and gives us back squat, bupkiss, nada-dam-ting…. Sure you got kids, sure you got a mortgage, sure you gotta have insurance and a new toaster and make sure that you drive a better car than your neighbor and never miss a night on the couch watching sitcoms and reality shows… The myths and lies we hear and tell ourselves over and over begin to replace what is really real with – you got it – “Real Life”.
A marketer’s dream. An ad guy’s heaven. Real life where we can sell you a college degree for $100,000 (loaned with interest) but we cannot support your dream of being a photographer for $5k worth of airline tickets and a suitcase. We can encourage you to spend 40% of your income on a pile of bricks with a lawn to mow, but we will never encourage you to take some time to write that novel, or compose that symphony, or photograph that mountain… no… home ownership (albatross) is ‘real life’ buddy and you better STFU about any other way of living if you know what’s good for you.
But as you get older, you realize that much of that ‘real life’ that you used for a super cool, bigdaddy excuse was bullshit. Bull. Shit. A steaming pile of fertilizer they laid down in your life and YOU LET THEM. In some cases encouraged them. Pure crap handed to you wrapped in colorful paper and tied off with a bow with a card reading “welcome to real life”… sucker.
And taking that wrapping off was fun. Real life became a bench mark of nothing, and a valuable companion for doing nothing. Because “real life” had you by the balls and you simply were too concerned about who was watching to punch real life in the face, take his watch and wallet, kick him while he’s down and make an escape in your almost paid off car that with interest cost you about $70,000.
You were looking for an excuse to not do it. A grand excuse for not putting it out there and maybe having to face rejection. The fkn TV never rejects you when you plant your ass in front of it to see what is happening on “Storage Wars”… or the lameass news.
But the beauty of all of this is we have a choice to make every single moment of every single day. Until we don’t. And on that day it really will matter little what ‘real life’ did to you, or took from you, or robbed you of… that bullshit doesn’t work anymore on that day.
On that day the sum of your choices has been weighed – and measured, and you will never get a chance to choose something different for the next moment. You used all those opportunities up already. I hope you chose wisely.
So what are you going to do today to advance your art? What choices will you struggle with today? Which ones will win out?
Your art or your personal nemesis, both real and imagined, “real life’…?
(I hate mirrors…)
(H/T to David Wolanski for the heads up.)