Friday, January 16, 2009

2009: It’s Time to Decide

Happy 2009, everyone! Sorry for the belated wishes; life has been immensely hectic the last 3-4 weeks. BUT one thing that recent events have taught me is this: Life is short. Follow your dreams now. Don’t waste any time, especially being afraid. Take a baby step forward and keep moving.

New Year’s 2009 was unusual. Normally, I like to sit back, make a list of resolutions, think about accomplishments, and write down goals. In December 2008, my Dad went into the hospital for a mini stroke, pneumonia, respiratory and heart issues all at once. Suffice it to say, New Year’s Eve for me was spent watching doctors and nurses wear celebratory hats as they waltzed in and out of my Dad’s hospital room. Then later, drinking some wine w/my mom, us toasting in the New Year before collapsing to sleep.

While I wish this hadn’t happened, I have to take a long look at what I can learn from it. Yes, my mind is swirling with all those life questions: What does it all mean? What are we doing here? Where am I headed? And one answer which keeps resonating with me is that we only have a bit limited time on this Earth - why waste any of it not pursuing what you want to do? I’m not saying quit your day job; I’m saying make the time for those pursuits you’re passionate about.

It only makes sense. I look at other artists and wonder: what would life be like if they’d chosen different paths? What if Aaron Neville had become a store manager instead of a musician? Whether you’re a person of faith or not, his version of “Amazing Grace” is absolutely beautiful. Think of your favorite authors, filmmakers, painters - - what if they’d been too scared to pursue their passion? Life would be different, and isn’t the entire point of life to enjoy its richness while we can?

So, it’s mid-January and I’m just now getting to that 2009 goals list. Continuing to write, telling stories which offer a glimpse into understanding humanity--that’s my top goal. Rejection letters, while sometimes depressing and painful, can only stop me if I let them.

One of my favorite episodes of “Inside the Actor’s Studio” hosts Dustin Hoffman. He talks about Picasso, who was asked once, “What would you do if you didn’t have any paintbrushes to paint with?” Picasso’s answer was, “I’d use pens and pencils, crayons, whatever I had to.”
On being asked, “If someone stripped you naked, put you in prison and gave you nothing to paint with, what would you do?”
Picasso’s answer? “I would spit on my finger and continue to draw images on the walls. I would never let anything stop me.”

THAT is passion, folks. So get out there and begin to follow yours!

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