Reigniting my creative spark

So drawing has always been an interest of mine. I was often doodling and cartooning when I was a kid and started really finding my interest in it through my teens to my early twenties. But somewhere along the way my drawing began to slow down, finding myself not able to put my imagination to paper. I hit my peak it feels like and my well of creativity seems to have dried up.

When I decided to go back to school and embark on a career in Design and Illustration, I started getting nervous about my lack of creative inspiration for these past few years. Maybe I’d lost my focus, maybe I just hit the apex of my creativity. It’s frightening to think that something I’ve treasured about myself since childhood has disappeared. This roadblock has me deeply concerned that I’m choosing the right career.

So I’ve been debating enrolling in a drawing course of sorts for months now. Thinking it would be a good idea to maybe go back to the basics and attempt to reignite the creative process. Though I’ve been hesitant to spend the money on it because my actual schooling required the investment more. Now that I’m finished upgrading and working a well paying job I’m in a position to consider it.

This Christmas my awesome girlfriend gave me an amazingly thoughtful gift and bought me an 8 week/class course in drawing fundamentals. Including all my necessary supplies. I haven’t been this excited about a gift in a long time. I attended my first class last week and had a blast. It was crazy just how much of the basics of drawing I’ve lost over the years and how my skills have been shaped by the fundamentals I retained growing up.

Even in my first class I’d relearned a few important skills regarding perspective and observation. I know it’s only been one class but I’m encouraged at the possibility this will be a serious boost in regaining my creative spirit. While doing my assignment for this weeks class, I noticed I’m finding drawing fun again and not as much of a frustration/disappointing experience. It’s really good to feel this way.

At most I’m hoping this course will help me branch out from the cartooning I usually do and improve my portrait art. At the very least I hope that I find the fun in art again and stoke my creative fire till it burns brightly.

When I grow up………

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I’ve spent a good part of my life confused about who I am, who I want to be and what my contribution to the world will be? Since I was a teen I’ve been struggling with the eternal question “who do I want to be when I grow up?”. Well I’m grown up now and I’m still asking myself that same question, struggling with the same feelings and doubts about myself.

Having spent the past 2 years preparing for College so I can establish myself in a career of my choosing, finally taking my first steps towards an answer to that question. Going back and finishing off what I didn’t complete in high school was an extremely positive and uplifting experience for me. More so than I could have imagined. Though I find myself doubting the choices I made again.

I know my decisions over the past few years have been the right ones, and that I’ve made significant progress forward in my life. But I can’t help but feel like I’m still no more closer to answering that question. I’m beginning to wonder if there even is an answer. Does anyone really know who they were meant to become? I don’t know, maybe my doubts come from my risk averse personality and no matter how far I succeed I’ll doubt myself.

All I know is that I’m not happy with who I am right now. I’ve accomplished so little while I see others my age who have accomplished so much. It’s disheartening. I keep telling myself I’m destined to have more impact on the world than just taking up space. I just wish I could figure out what it was.

A minuscule spec on a fraction of a pale blue dot.

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Once we overcome our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome Universe that utterly dwarfs — in time, in space, and in potential — the tidy anthropocentric proscenium of our ancestors. ~ Carl Sagan

This weekend was the Perseid Meteor shower. Being a city slicker I normally don’t get the opportunity to enjoy the amazing light shows they put on. I was lucky enough to catch the beginning of this amazing celestial event, as I was out at my mothers in the country for our annual summer family BBQ. We were fortunate enough to have a clear skies, so I was able to fully enjoy what turned out to be a beautiful light show.

It’s events like the meteor shower, which leave me feeling incredibly small in comparison to the rest of universe. No matter what challenges I face in life, or how big my insecurities feel, its an awfully humbling feeling to realize just how small and unimportant they are in the general scheme of things. Yet in spite of being faced with such a humbling experience, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the problems I face in my life. I have some big decisions to make regarding my future, many of which scare me.

We all can’t help but view ourselves as the center of our own universe. Not because we are inherently a selfish species, but more so because our understanding of the world around us is shaped by our own individual experiences. Every so often we are presented with a situation, problem or moment in life where we are faced with the truth, that despite how important our world seems, we are nothing more than a tiny spec, on a fraction of a dot in the ever expanding universe.

In my everyday life I feel tiny in comparison to the problems I’m facing and that’s what scares me. Yet I know that it only scares me because of the unknown factors that can turn my world upside down. I wonder if its this fear that has prevented me from actually being able to make a solid decision regarding my future and who I wanna be. I also wonder if that’s part of the reason why I’m struggling so much to define where I fit in.

All I know is that even though my problems in life are insignificant in comparison to the universe as a whole, they aren’t insignificant to the world that is my existence. And while my time on this pale blue dot we inhabit is limited, if I wish to achieve my maximum potential, that I must face each problem head on no matter how enormous they may seem.

(NOTE: The image above is the “Pale Blue Dot” photograph of the Earth taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on July 6, 1990. The Earth is the relatively bright speck of light about halfway across the uppermost sunbeam. Image is owned by NASA and was found on the wikipedia article for the image)

Opportunity is knocking. Better answer it.

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So my teacher today reminded us that after this weekend we are down to our final nine classes of the semester. Which for me is also my last nine classes of my upgrading. That only leaves my final exam and then I have completed everything I need to prepare for my next step in my education. I’m surprised how far I have come since I started, in fact I’ve accomplished what I never did while a teenager, which is complete my high school education.

Now I find myself somewhere I’ve never been before. I’m used to never knowing when opportunity knocks and always guessing what my future holds for me or how much potential I may have. But if anything my time over these past two years has shown me, it’s how much potential I really have and that my future is shaped by what I make in the present. My experiences I have gained over my time reeducating myself in preparation for my post secondary education has changed me for the better. I’ve learned so much about myself, where I see my life in ten years, and who I want to be professionally.

For one of the few times in my life I find myself with the opportunity to make some significant changes for myself and my future. When I graduated from High school in 2001, I was faced with the same opportunity but I squandered it. Not because I didn’t appreciate the significance of it all, but because I was struggling badly to find my social identity that my professional identity and career goal was the furthest thing from my mind. This time around because I’m much more mature and have developed a strong sense of social identity, I find myself better equipped to seize hold of the opportunity I’m facing.

While I may have a long way to go before I finish my education and am settled into a design career, my first step towards a successful future has been a large and very important one. I’ve built a strong foundation to build my future upon, and with the skills I’ve gained I’m much more confident in my ability to achieve my career goals then I’ve ever been. I think I’m ready to take on the next step and accept the challenges ahead. It’s a liberating feeling to be in some control over my future. Much better than always wondering to myself “what if?”.

Anyway thanks for reading. Sorry again for the late post. My computer died a bit ago and have been writing most of my posts via my iPhone (which sucks monkey balls) and had to wait to use the only other computer in the house. But better late then never. Until next time, I leave you with a final thought.

Every day, you get the opportunity to change your life. Change what you do not want. Change what makes you unhappy.”
― Rodolfo Costa

 

Sources:

Image: http://mcauleyfreelancewriting.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/opportunity_knocks.jpg

Quote: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/opportunity?page=4

 

The art of smiling :)

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I’ve always liked to think of myself as a pretty happy guy. In general I’m well liked, love to laugh and try to be positive whenever possible. I always had a big, bold smile that I shared often and with ease.
Over the last half of my twenties I found I smiled less frequently. Not that I didn’t ever smile as there were occasions where it was inevitable. Problem is I used to smile daily and frequently as a part of everyday life. I’d smile to people as I passed them on the street or sat next to them on the bus. Hell I’d smile to customers I talked too on the phone (even though they couldn’t see me). But as my twenties came to a close I found myself smiling less and furrowing my brow more, at the same people I only a few years ago would have greeted with a friendly smirk.

Maybe it’s because I was less happy then I was in my early twenties. The realizations that everything I’d hoped to achieve by my thirties was well short of my plans. It also didn’t help that I had major dental problems and in turn was ashamed of my smile. Maybe it was because working in a call center for eight years left me bitter at people. For what ever the reasons were, I eventually lost my smile.

It obviously became noticeable as my girlfriend remarked that more frequently I’m negative about people than I am positive and how less I smile daily. Which really lead me to think about why things changed? Have I become so jaded and bitter that I can’t even smile and see the positives in people anymore? It saddened me to think that was a possibility.

So for the past few months I’ve been putting a major effort into smiling more frequently in my everyday experiences with the hope of it improving my impression of others and their opinion of me. I’m noticing (as expected) my efforts are beginning to have an affect on my interactions with people. In fact as I write this my bus driver I smile to everyday, smiled back and spoke to me for the first time and said not to bother showing my pass. When I asked why, she said “it’s the nice people I remember” Never spoke a word to her before only have nodded and smiled each time I board. What’s amazing is it’s that small interaction that has made me memorable and her opinion of me as a nice guy.

It’s interesting to see the power smiling has in your everyday life. I find I’m in better spirits more often, I interact with new and interesting people more frequently now and I leave a longer impression on someone in just one smile than I do with any introduction I can come up with.

So I challenge those reading this to spend a day smiling, do it for yourself or to pay a lil bit of happiness forward to someone else. You’d be surprised at the power that smiling brings.

Life is a series of defining moments!

“Make the most of each moment.” ~ Marv Machura

In my quest for self identity and understanding I can’t help but noticing that my life can be broken down to a series of defining moments.
It’s at each of these moments that we are faced with a life altering experience, be it an event, inspiring person or a personal discovery. It’s the lasting impact each moment leaves on our lives that causes a person to grow as an individual.

When I reflect on my life, I find I tend to combine each of my moments together. Trying to find some sort of meaning or clue about myself but struggling to find anything worth meaning. It’s only by looking at each moment as a separate entity that I’ve started noticing little clues about who I am and what sets me apart from the human collective.

The above quote was said by a teacher I had. His view of the world and our responsibility in it to future generations, left a lasting impression on me. As I look back at my time in his class, learning from him was a defining moment in my life. As short as our time was together I learned more about myself and my abilities as a writer then any other teacher I’ve had. It’s the lasting effect the moments I shared with him that has helped me discover my passion and my voice in writing. In his teachings he left me with an sense of personal responsibility to seize each moment and make the most of what life has presented me.

It’s been almost a year since my time learning from Marv ended, yet I find that his influence on me hasn’t dissipated. By making the most of my experience in his class and by his teachings I’ve learned more about myself then I ever felt possible. My time with him truly was a defining moment in my journey to self discovery.

So I’m going to end today’s post with another quote from him that resonates with me. As a way to share his wisdom with my fellow members of the human collective, but also to express my deepest gratitude for everything I’ve learned from him. Thank you!

Learning only happens when you apply energy to actively transform something of yourself and thus grow both spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. ~ Marv Machura.

Three things I’d tell 16 year old me.

Welcome back fellow bloggers,

For those of you who are new to my blog, I felt for my third post I’d give you an honest insight to the man behind the words. With that idea in mind I struggled with an easy way to do this without rambling on and on about my life, self, and accomplishments. This lead me to ask myself that old question, ” If I could take the knowledge I gained in adulthood and tell it to my 16 year old self what would it be?”.

I’ve recently begun a journey of self discovery and understanding, so this question hits pretty close to home right now. I’ve decided to share three things I would tell my younger self on today’s blog post.

Number 1: Finish school. Especially while its free.

I can’t count how many times I heard this from parents/teachers while growing up. I wish I’d listened, but at the time I was more focused on my social status than I was on my studies. Funny enough all those so called “friends” I no longer have any contact with. Just goes to show what was the better investment of time as here I am now a 30 year old, broke ass college student. Schools expensive. Kids don’t realize just how lucky they are it’s free.

Number 2: Sometimes Love isn’t enough to keep you happy.

It took me a few heartaches before I learned this lesson. Since 16 I’ve been in Love with 3 separate girlfriends. And while both of those relationships ended for completely different reasons, it wasn’t until after the second one ended that I learned this lesson. No matter how much you love or care about someone it doesn’t mean they are right for you or you for them. Love is a wonderful feeling but don’t let it guide you towards happiness. You’re doomed for failure if you count on love getting you through any bumps in your relationships. It takes dedication, honest and open communication, and a logical approach towards any situation your relationship faces for it to be successful. Honesty being the key word. Never sacrifice your happiness for love but find a balance between both. It’s this knowledge has helped me in my current relationship even when things have been rough.

Number 3: Never stop exploring the unknown and learn learn learn!

The world is a wide, wonderful place. We only have so much time on this planet to experience it all. So make sure to explore the secrets the world has to offer. From something as small as learning a new skill to something as big as taking off on an adventure in some far off place. It wasn’t until I started challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone and experience more of the world that I started learning more about myself. It’s the knowledge we gain and the experiences we go through in life that define who we are. So be sure to never stop being curious about yourself or the world around you. Life’s to short to sit back and watch everyone else have all the fun.

Now while not all of you may agree with my statements regarding your own lives, in regards to my own life these lessons are some of the most important things I’ve learned as an adult. If I had a chance to have a serious discussion with 16 year old me, it’s these lessons I would teach myself to help better prepare for life as an adult.

Thanks for reading. Once again I encourage any comments or opinions readers may have. Until next time I leave you with another quote that I try to live by.

Don’t look back in anger. It’s just a memory. – Strung Out