This afternoon, I had the opportunity to go grocery shopping with my older sister, Lydia. Strolling through the aisles of Aldi and in utter astonishment at the low prices (You’re not in SF anymore, Dorothy) we shared a great conversation and were able to share some of the things going on in our lives.
One thing I’ve always appreciated about Lydia is her ability to see joys in the little things, like grocery shopping. During her years blogging, I appreciated her insatiable sense of curiosity at the world, which she captured beautifully with her words. Nowadays, she’s transformed that whimsical nature into the art of being a Mom, wife, and caretaker.
We chatted about this past year, which seems to have gone by all too quickly. “2019 was a great year, Lydia.” “Really?!” she seemed surprised.
Looking back at 2019, I can’t say it was an easy year. However, it was one filled with adventures, new sights, relationships, opportunities, and invaluable time spent with my family.
Some things emerged this year that no job, paycheck, or mortgaged house could ever surpass…
Wonder. Emotion. Joy. Beauty. Forgiveness. Courage. Gratitude. Generosity. Rebirth. Healing.
Yes, there has been loss. However, I’ve learned that loss doesn’t always mean a void is created. Rather, it’s the opportunity for something new to take the place of what was. After all, nothing remains forever. As Tyler Durden said:
“Hey man, even the Mona Lisa is falling apart.”
For nearly a decade, I’ve had a weekly notification to watch one of the last scenes from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (link) in which the daughter reads this letter:
For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
For all of the time spent watching that video, 2019 was the year where I had the opportunity to live the words.
The adventure this year was wouldn’t have been possible were it not for the words of my older brother, Steve.
“Maybe I’ll just leave my job and start driving for Lyft”
Never underestimate the power your words have. The smallest little quip can set somebody’s heart on fire – or burn a bridge. Choose your words carefully.
I never stopped to think him for saying what he did. However, his statement sparked something inside of me that gave me a new perspective on life; perhaps there’s more to this ‘life’ thing than working at a VC-backed startup and drinking kombucha while being glued to a laptop screen in an open office environment…
Steve did a lot for me this year, as he also inspired me to begin painting. It’s been through art that I’ve felt things I’ve never felt before, met people with a different point of view, and live a life I’m proud of, because I now see every day as an opportunity to create beauty.
One thing painting has taught me is the art of forgiveness. See, each painting starts off as a canvas in need of color. As you start to add the layers, it comes together. However, sometimes a stroke doesn’t go the way you intended. Instantly, there’s a feeling of doom and gloom.
“It’s ruined. I can’t recreate what was. Why am I doing this? This painting is ruined.”
I’m not sure about others who paint, but much of my work is paired with these thoughts before the finished product emerges. On many occasions, I’ve taken a can of spray paint and doused the canvas with “F*ck it.” before walking off to let the paint dry.
Each time I return, something new emerges that wasn’t there before – just like life; when you give things time to breathe and clear, returning with a vow to create something new, beauty tends to follow.
Being transparent, there have been many times in the past where I’ve spray painted “F*ck it” on dreams, goals, ambitions, and…myself. 2019 was full of those moments, where I wasn’t quite sure what was around the corner.
During those times, I found strength from others, encouragement from family, and a new desire to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
The bible says “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light to my path.”
We don’t get xenon headlights. Rather, life presents you with one match at a time to light your path. As you take each step, you’ll find yourself in places you didn’t know possible, because you didn’t have eyes to see them in the past.
With 2020 around the corner, I hope that you find newfound faith (Full Assurance In The Heart), motivation, friendships, and love.
Remember, Van Gogh only sold one painting in his life. However, he devoted incredible effort to the process of creating (In less than a decade, he made over 2,100 paintings…) because the strokes on the canvas were what moved him.