Recently I came across this photo from art school and wondered, 'What would I tell my 20-year-old self now?'...and these ten things came to mind:
1. Don't hold too tightly to anything...letting go allows you to let other, greater things in. Honestly...you'll learn this to be true.
2. Enjoy the process...seriously. The work is so much fun, don't worry about what you 'should' do or how to do it, just have fun in whatever you do and it will all fall into place.
3. Nothing happens overnight...it takes time to build a portfolio, and more importantly, to build your character.
4. The tough stuff, both personally and professionally, usually precludes the good stuff. Those 'dark nights of the soul' are necessary for growth and development...it's true!
5. Don't be afraid...I know that at 20 you think you feel infallible but fears do arise. Let them go. Just breathe.
6. Be kind and gracious to others. And when you aren't, because there will be those times, apologize...and mean it!
7. Don't complain...don't fall into the trap of negativity...it's not becoming. You always, always have a choice...whether that is to change your attitude or your circumstances. It's not someone else's fault or job to make you happy. It's up to you.
8. Keep working. Whether that is caring for yourself, your home, your family, your job. Apply yourself and do your best.
9. Do it your way. There is no one-size-fits-all method of success. Trust your heart. If you want to teach, teach. If you want to write, write. If you want to do many things, do them. If you do what is true to you, you will find joy.
10. Keep learning...by talking to others, reading, taking classes. Even if it doesn't feel connected to what you do, it will trigger ideas.
When I was 20 would I have listened? At that stage in my life I had a few resentments that I had to work through, but I do know that everything I've experienced, even those things I've regretted, has helped me to be the person I am today. Hopefully more compassionate, and definitely more content.
AIRdirondack Art Project