WHEN I'M SIX AND A HALF
I remember when people used to come into my gallery/studio and watch me as I painted. Then they'd make comments like, "What a life! You get to do what you love and just paint all the time! I wish I had a job like that!"
Inside I would think (and sometime say aloud), "You have no idea all that's involved with 'being an artist', most of which has nothing to do with painting! You don't see all the hours I spend on accounting and marketing and inventory...all of the 'not so fun' stuff...the un-glamorous, yet necessary side of this job!"
They don't always tell you in art school that to actually be what you're studying to be, you have to be self-employed and learn to run a business! It's not like other degrees, where you just get a job and work for someone else!
So, for the past 10 years, I've continually come up against, "I need to do what!? But I don't know how!...Ok, well, I guess I'd better figure it out!"
Some of it has been pretty daunting, and by grace I've accomplished far more than I ever would have thought possible.
But sometimes I've responded by getting overwhelmed and putting it off until later.
Which is why the conversation I just had with my niece was especially thought-provoking:
"Aunt Rachel, do you know how to tie shoes?"
"Yes I do. I learned how a long time ago. Do you know how?"
"No...lots of people showed me how, but I still can't do it...I'm too little.
Maybe I'll be able to do it when I'm six and a half, but I can't do it now because I'm only just six."
"Yes, but if you're going to be able to do it when you're six and a half, that means you need to start practicing now!"
It seems that was a very profound thought for her.
...which made me wonder if I ought to be awed by it too, and consider it more deeply.
How many things am I procrastinating about, because they seem too difficult to learn, too daunting...?
How many things am I deferring to "someday", when really they require practice now if I'm ever going to learn and be able to do them "someday"?!
Then she said, "...but I've tried and tried and I can't ever remember!"
"Well, let's try it and practice, and maybe this time you will remember!" (Sometimes just getting started is half the battle!)
We spent the next 15 minutes practicing, and trying a few new techniques, and finally we had success!
Her 9 year old cousin came in and wondered what we were doing...She looked up at him and said, with pointing finger, "He doesn't know how to tie his shoes either!"
He got a sheepish, embarrassed look on his face.
"Well!" he said, "you don't REALLY need to know how to tie your shoes. Our mom just ties them once, for the whole year, and then we just slip them on”.
I wonder, am I using any "just get by" approaches for things that I really ought to just start practicing and learning, instead of waiting for that magic day when I'm six and a half and I'll just "know"?