December is a holiday month: Kwanza, Hanukkah, Fiesta of our Lady of Guadalupe, Omisoka/New Years Eve, Yule, Boxing Day, Christmas and etc. To name a few, as it were. It’s the time of the Winter Solstice. It also happens to be my birth month. Yay!
Although this year is feeling more like MEH.
I’ll be 29 this month. THIS MONTH. That’s a year away from 30!
And I most certainly do not have my shit figured out, pardon my French.
Whether it’s from people I know, people I idolize on the internet, or someone I happened to overhear on the street at 2AM, I hear the same age old wisdom: Your twenties are for experimentation and your thirties (and onward) are implementation. In other words, you work on figuring everything out in your twenties by making a series of mistakes, and then you act like you know what you’re doing because you base it off of what you learned from said mistakes or something.
This is terrifying to me.
Everyone makes it sound like I should have everything under control and understood by the time I’m done with this decade in my life. You might feel the same way. I don’t think it has much validity though. I’m not so sure if it’s because I don’t or because I know that’s bullshit. Yeah, I wanted my life to be fairly different from what it is now, so do a lot of people, but regardless of that, I know nobody is going to have everything figured out. Some, or most, people never will, in fact, and that’s fine. Or I think that’s fine.
What I’ve learned growing up is that there’s no significant shift between child and adult, not even in teenage years, but a gradual change where you have more responsibilities, stresses, freedoms, and challenges. People don’t suddenly turn into an adult just like people don’t magically have their shit under control because they’ve reached a certain age. You also don’t get rid of your past or who you were, you change from it and from that person. Besides, if you’re not growing and learning, then what are you doing?
Probably nothing, that’s what. You’re growing stagnant. You’re getting stuck in your ways. That’s my fear.
Ultimately, it comes back to creating for me. If you’re making something, doing some art medium, and you’re churning out piece after piece but the pieces are all the same, then I feel like you’re a failure or that I’m a failure, really. I mean, you can be financially successful, but that doesn’t mean that you are successful in your art. After a while, you’re not creating anymore, you’re just doing. If you’ve learned everything there is to know about your art, and you feel there’s nothing else to learn, then you’re hindering yourself or not challenging the medium enough, and I think that’s problematic.
What I’m trying to say is, there’s a difference between being knowledgeable and thinking you know all there is to know. You can’t know everything. In the words of Luke Skywalker, portrayed by Mark Hamill, “That’s not true! That’s impossible!” Don’t look into the context of that quote, please…
You can still imagine you’re omniscient like someone who has specialized their craft i.e. perhaps you’ve gone to school to master one type of Japanese glaze because most of the Japanese glazes I’m familiar with are difficult to work with and do require a greater understanding of what goes into them. You can become a master of that glaze, but not of ceramics. If you’re wondering why I bring up this oddly specific example it’s because I recently went to an exhibit in an art museum that demonstrated Japanese ceramics. It was gorgeous. I digress. I’m aware that I really shouldn’t downplay the importance of specialization within the arts. It is important to have experts, after all, but one thing for me that not only gives me a reason to continue but a reason to do anything at all, is the act of improving and learning. Without that, I don’t see a point.
I don’t mean to anger or insult anyone here, by the way. It’s more of a personal reflection than an attack. Monotonous repetition and a lack of stimulation and challenge is a nightmare for me. I hope that some of you will be able to sympathize with this.
If you’re wondering why I chose to go on this lengthy, analogical tangent when all I really wanted to do was exercise my insecurities over age and self-worth, well… Yes, I could’ve done that. I definitely could’ve done that because, as a creative person, my life falls under the theme I gave this blog. The point is, I wanted to be ridiculous.
This is one of those things where I’m already aware of where I want to go and where I’m going, but I don’t want to get there and have everything end. It’s the journey, not the destination. Yes, more wise colloquialisms. And if the destination is to have everything experienced, never have any surprises, good or bad, and have an easier life, then I don’t think I want it, necessarily. This coming from the guy with a General Anxiety Disorder. Hence the beginning of this post.
Ha ha. Mental illness. Ha ha. That post will probably come at a later time.
To summarize: Everyone moves at their own pace. No one will have everything together. We all age. Some of us need to be constantly improving, and some of us are where we want to be. Age is a number. There are a lot of holidays in December. Etc.
Bottom line, don’t worry. Whether or not things don’t seem to be going your way, that’s something that happens, and is a thing that you can get over and/or improve. Also, work hard and create. Enjoy December too!