Before I Die I want to ....
Waiting may be the real human condition. Consider what people want out of life. I believe that it is usually something in the future. A better job. Real love. More money. A new something or other. A better life. All just out of reach and always tomorrow. When did this attitude to life begin? Thinking about it I suggest that it was probably in our later teens. You know when we started wishing we were older. Remember the Beach Boys song? "Wouldn't it be nice if we were older then we wouldn't have to wait so long..."
Why is waiting such a big part of our lives? Maybe the honest truth is that we are afraid. Fear is the number one factor before lack of time, money or motivation. When we try something risky like creating from the heart we are letting our defences down. That goes against human nature. We need to protect ourselves at all costs. But is the cost worth it? Who pays the price in the end?
Recently this idea came up around our dinner table. We were discussing Christmas gifts since it is getting to that time of year again. My wife wants our gifts to the extended family to be handmade. This is better than something bought at the mall. A gift from the heart. But what if the recipient did not like the gift? Would it not be safer just to buy something? My wife is very talented at crafts. We looked at each other as if we suddenly woke up and thought: "We are two artists second guessing our ability to make worthwhile gifts for our relatives!" Trivial, but it illustrates a point. If we do not keep an eye on ourselves we will do whatever it takes to preserve ourselves from rejection even it it means compromising on our talents.
The idea is to use our talents now. Not wait until sometime in the future. The time is never right. The time is short. Act today no matter if the first steps are hesitant and clumsy. Forget the TV and the mantra of "I am too tired, maybe tomorrow." If art is your thing then grab a pencil and sketch then move on to adding colour or whatever is the next step for you. Want to write? Start with a sentence.
I read an article about Prince Charles in the recent Time magazine. The Forgotten Prince is the lead title. It is about Prince Charles getting on with projects and duties as if he is king. He has not waited to be crowned before doing anything worthwhile. Life is short and he clearly is taking opportunities today to make a difference.
This blog title is borrowed from the story of Candy Chang. You can read the full story on her website. Her project was to create giant blackboards where people could fill in the blank space. A reminder that the time is now and our time is short. Let us not waste another moment. I love this idea! I relate to it very much. It has been and still is a challenge for me to put my art out there. It may be insignificant, but perhaps it makes someone happy too. Ultimately it is what I do and what I am sharing that matters. There is a long way to go, but I cannot stop now. We all need to do our meaningful work even if it is difficult.
The challenge then is to start today. Whether it is art, writing, physics or mending relationships - just begin.
What would you write in that blank space?
Malcolm Dewey: Artist. Country: South Africa