When I was a kid, my mom had a wooden artist’s easel. She purchased a giant pad of paper and a set of watercolors for me, and I LOVED painting on that easel! There is one very distinct painting session I recall that stays with me into adulthood.
In this memory, I’m four or five years old. I don’t recall the season, but my brother was not yet born, and I was 20 days shy of turning six when he joined our family. My mother is washing dishes in the kitchen of our top level duplex apartment, and I’m painting in the dining room. My mom asks what I’m painting, and I tell her, “I’m painting ME! But as a grown-up.” Rather than asking what I want to be when I grow up, she asks about the painting, and has me tell her about me as a grown-up.
“Well,” I begin, “right now, I’m relaxing in a lawn chair by the pool. I’m on vacation. But when I’m not on vacation, I’m an artist, and an actress, and a teacher, and an aerobics instructor, and I have my own business…” And after a brief pause, I add, “and I’m a firefighter.” I remember throwing in that last part because I wanted to sound more normal, and normal kids wanted to be a doctor, a firefighter, or an astronaut. I really had no interest in any of those professions.
The painting was simply a green stick figure lying sideways on a “lawn chair” that looked kinda like a lazy capital L. What the painting looked like didn’t matter. The painting’s representation, however, was more of a prophesy than anything.
As I sit on the very last day of my 20s (yes, my 30th birthday is TOMORROW! Eeek!) I can’t help but think of this painting, and feel pride that I’ve actually accomplished everything I wanted to do as a child. Granted, things look a little different than I imagined at four. I have degrees in ceramics and theatre. I have had my artwork displayed in various art galleries throughout the midwest. (Artist – check!) I’ve not only acted in, but have also directed, stage managed, and designed lighting, scenery, and sound for a pretty large number of stage productions. (Actor – check!) While I don’t teach aerobics, I do help people transform their bodies to achieve optimum health and wellness as a massage therapist. (Alternative health professional – check!) I’ve taught art history at the university level. (Teacher – check!) And I am very proud to say that I run a business that not only helps women and couples learn about their bodies and relationship communication, but also teaches them about sexual health, and teaches other women how to run businesses of the same amazing magnitude! I help my clients, hostesses, and business partners reach new levels of personal exploration and growth, along with the fabulous company I call my partner. (Business owner – check!) Firefighter…let’s all keep our fingers crossed that I never have to do that one!
Staring into the opportunity that awaits tomorrow, as I embark upon the journey of an entirely new decade, I’ve decided to create some new life goals. Yes, I have a traditional bucket list full of travel and experiences that I’d like to have during this precious process we call life, but if none of them happened, I think I would be perfectly happy, provided I continuously work toward making the following two ideas a reality:
1. Have there be little to no difference between my work and my play.
2. Inspire others to enrich their lives and relationships, and reach their fullest potential.
If I can live with true joy in my work and help those around me to see themselves in a shinier light, I can call my life’s purpose fulfilled. So far, I think I’m doing a pretty damn good job.
Here’s to my 30s – another decade full of personal growth, joy, love, laughter, devotion, and reaching for the stars!