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.”
Jasmine. The smell is intoxicating. Coming up my stairs on a warm spring night and smelling the beautiful perfume of this delicate flower makes me very happy. It’s not the same if you pick it or if it’s bottled as a perfume. You must smell it as it is on the vine. That is its strength. It has the control to act exactly as it wants. No one tells it when it can bloom and when it dies. It is on its own schedule. The blooms don’t last forever but the sheer knowledge knowing that it will return is enough. Now that is freedom.
I’m trying to look at my life like jasmine. I have the power in myself to control how I feel and how I act. I also have to take responsibility for when I screw up and when I am true to myself. When to walk away and when to know it’s better to stick it out. I’m still trying to learn that lesson and it’s not very easy. The demons and voices in my head still trying to win out. We are surrounded right now by a lot of crazy stuff. I can find myself going down that rabbit hole. Getting caught up in all of the fear and uncertainty of what another day is going to bring. Age does that. It makes you face things you use to put aside when you were younger. There was always time before to work things out (you told younger self) but now I can feel time. Trying to drown out the clock ticking by a fountain in my office. Sometimes it works and sometimes I find myself looking at the clock more than I should.
This year there is a massive amount of butterflies out especially now that we are getting a bit of warmer weather. There are so many of them I can hear their wings flutter. They are so beautiful and so precious. As is the jasmine. So I am stopping to smell the jasmine. I suggest you also my friends, take time to smell the jasmine.