Many years ago, while in New York City, I took up sculpture. I enrolled in a Saturday class at the New School/Parsons School of Design. I was teaching a night course at the time at Parsons so the sculpture class was free for faculty. I have always had a love affair and great admiration for the classic sculptors especially Rodin. I have been to the museum many times and am overwhelmed with the amount of work this man has accomplished. There was no way he had time to sleep.
The time it takes me to do one small head I’m sure he could have done in a couple of hours and to perfection. I remember the feeling of relaxation sculpting brought me so I decided to enroll in sculpture class recently. Wow, have I changed. In my youth, I had no expectations of what I should know and how “good” I would be. The world was my oyster and I knew if my piece wasn’t perfect I could chalk it up to youth.
But now, many years later, after being in the “professional” world for so long I am much harder on myself. I am judgemental and feel I should be automatically perfect. After all, I’ve been practicing my art for many, many years. “It should be second nature,”I tell myself. And then I struggle to not make the mouth look like a fish or the eyes look like they are two holes.
Part of me wants to walk away and say screw it. I don’t need to do this. But the other part (the defiant part) tells me to keep at it. After all, when the weekend is done, no one will see the piece but me. But it’s not about the sculpture. It’s about me not being able to finish something that is up to my standards.
What this diatribe all means is that I don’t have the patience to take the time to learn again what I knew so many years ago. I am a makeup artist by trade not a sculpter. And each skill I try to do needs time and practice to discover what works and what doesn’t. I’m sure Rodin didn’t create a masterpiece first time out of the box. But he was a genius so maybe the second time!
Regardless, that doesn’t give me the excuse to continue not to sculpt. Each time I get a bit better and the lessons I learned years ago are coming back to me. The thrill and love of sculpting is also coming back to me. And that is what is important when moving on in life. Find the things to rediscover that use to give you joy before you had to worry about making a living. Rediscover the beauty of taking as long as you like to do what brings you pleasure. And when that mouth finally looks the way you want it to or the eyes are beautiful and telling then you know you have accomplished what we seem to want out of life. Satisfaction, joy and love.
As I get older I have a new outlook of the possibilities in my life. I am definitely not the age society makes me. I know very well what number of years I have spent on this planet but I am far from checking out of life. I don’t mean that in a depressing way. I mean that in a vibrant way.
I think our society today, especially in this country, is missing a great deal from retiring folks before they are willing and bringing in a new “breed”. Not because I am of that age but because we are losing some vital and important information from people who have a tremendous amount of knowledge. They may not be as savvy as the younger set when it comes to the computer age but they sure do have a world of knowledge in survival and social skills whether it be in business or in the arts or for that matter in life.
Nothing speaks louder than what we call “old school” as a way of looking at how life should be lived. As I get older I am more aware of how quickly time goes by and I still have a lot of living to do. There are so many things I want to learn and experience and I know the clock is ticking. When I was younger I never really thought about what it would be like when I reached the age I am now. I remember my mom’s frustration when she couldn’t remember a word or didn’t have the stamina she did when she was younger. Fortunately, I have been blessed with good health and so still have a very healthy yoga practice and can endure long days like the best of them.
I have definitely been guilty of working too much and not stopping to breathe. I still have the desire and passion but in a very different way. I don’t mind stepping back and watching the world swirl around me than hopping in when I can help. I am satisfied with how my career has gone and I have seen the world in the most rewarding and sometimes crazy ways. Now I just want to focus on what makes me passionate. Grandma Moses started painting at 78 and did ok. As Grandma Moses once said, “Life is whatever we make it. Always has been, always will be.”
It has been so long since I have written a post. Just felt the need to take a break. Felt I was getting stale and wasn’t into writing. Quite frankly, felt I had lost the desire or love or need or whatever it is when you are afraid it’s just not good enough.
I have the problem a lot in my professional and personal life. Call it what you will it can be maddening or exhilarating depending on how you look at it. Even now as I try to write what I feel I am having a hard time putting into words what my feelings are saying. The conversation never seems to stop in my head.
Yes, I have tried meditation numerous times and continue to believe it will help quiet the voices. God knows I’ve practiced enough yoga in the 47 years since I first threw down the mat. I want to be patient, kind and positive in my thoughts. But the search for perfection seeps in and I feel somewhat lost. Not in an, I want to jump off a bridge lost but in an, I feel blue lost. It’s not all the time and comes and goes. I have times of sheer joy in just being healthy and alive but there are those moments or even days where I wish I was clever enough to write the next great American novel.
You would think with all of the electronic help we have nowadays I would be able to google an answer in how to reach perfection. In work. In life. In love. But alas it’s just a computer and doesn’t have the capacity to be human. I am the only one to have that capacity and should revel in the fact that I am able to have the luxury. Regardless of how imperfect it can be at times. Being human can be perfect.