As an artist, I am lucky enough to spend my time observing the world around me and connecting in a way that not many people have time for. How many of us are guilty of putting our dreams in the “too hard” basket, saving them for that day when money and time know no bounds.
I want to share a secret with you…
That day rarely ever comes. Now I’m not saying, forget your dreams, far from it what I am saying is forget the bucket list. Write a “now list”. Think about the things you want. For me, getting out in ‘the wild’ and interacting with nature is pure joy.
So here are three things I can do right now;
1. Start planning! For goodness sake if I wait till I retire, for the right time, for when its acceptable to indulge myself on a whim financially, the chances of being physically fit enough to hike around is going to be very slim. Go out and collect those travel magazines, what have you got to lose!
I might as well put away a few dollars now, give up something I don’t need, or splurge even though saving might be safer. I might as well start working on my photography and my health. It’s time to be ready. You don’t know when the opportunity will present itself.
2. Live a little. Let go of the concept of some ideal time. Yeah okay we kind of went over this already but let’s look at this one more time. If I waited till it was the ideal, best decision, to become an artist, well, I wouldn’t be one. Maybe when I’m sixty. Was it slightly reckless to follow my heart after just becoming a single parent to two very young children? Sure. Actually, absolutely it was. However, I choose to see it as the moment the gauntlet was thrown down. I didn’t have a career that would support us so what did I have to lose? So, I took that leap of faith. Sometimes you must be brave. Do what you were born to do.
3. Haven’t you read those Facebook mems or perhaps some tacky TV commercial and thought yes, I want my life to be more. You know the ones, dance in the rain, read more books, watch a sunrise and so on.
Why haven’t you danced in the rain? Why didn’t you read a few pages of a book today? Never seen a sunrise? Why the heck not? Now before you chime in with “but work” … I ask you, why does that stop you?
There was a time when I worked four jobs (yes really) and now I can work up to 70 hours in a week and I read those lists, ticking each box. Take it from someone whose life’s calling is to observe, to ponder and express. You need these little things in your life and you need them NOW.
Pick just one thing. Smell the flowers, notice something beautiful on your way to work, next time it rains go out and dance in that damn rain! Look at the clouds with your kids and find all their favourite animals there. These things will take just minutes but you won’t be stuck in front of your computer reading some list, thinking one day…
Don’t do bucket lists. Do “Now” lists. And while it’s true I am not currently writing this from Alaska or Africa or some other exotic location, I spend time every week with exotic animals photographing them. I fill my days with all those pesky list items, ticking them off with my kids and by night I take all that inspiration and turn it into art. I can’t think of a better way to live my life. If you wait till sixty, it might just be too late.