You cannot live in the past, it is just a memory.
You cannot live in the future, it is just your imagination.
You can only be in the present.
“Life is what happens while you’’re busy making other plans.” John Lennon
One cannot help but remember the past and think about the future this time of year. Regardless of your take on Christmas, the calendar moving forward a year is inevitable.
I am not qualified to give any advice about how to live your life, what thoughts to have, with whom to share your time. Real life is the only source of my opinions. And I am honestly somewhat surprised to find out that people actually read what I write. But the process of writing helps me organize my thoughts. It helps me keep going.
There is no doubt that the sum of our experiences make us the one-and-only person that we are. The most significant contribution an artist can make is to share her unique view of life with others. It is also the only thing original.
And it is nice to have good memories. Maybe not so nice to have bad ones, but they are just memories.
The future is only our imagination. I am from the Midwest but have lived in Seattle for over 20 years. I used to say that, when I was young, I never imagined that I would spend most of life in the Pacific Northwest. See, that word, “imagined. ”
What we do have control over is our lives, today. In fact, you are the only person with true custodianship over your life.
Over your thoughts.
Over your decisions on how to spend your time.
Over what matters to your soul.
You can choose to have a life where you are not alone; focus on spending quality time with people instead of browsing online or sitting on the sofa every night watching TV.
You can choose to have a less hurried life; decide to spend less so you can have more time.
You can choose to be reflective and contemplative about your life; look out the window and watch it rain, and see where your thoughts go.
You can choose good health; take the time to eat real food and save fast food for the people that are in a hurry.
You can choose to work at love; kiss your spouse, hug your kids, tell a friend you love them.
You can choose to be generous.
You can choose to live, instead of merely exist.
I think contentment, and maybe happiness, comes from realizing you have these choices.
I get so confused sometimes about life. If anything, I am the person who thinks about it too much. Who wonders too much how my decisions today will impact my tomorrow. Who strives a little too hard to experience everything, to live that life less ordinary.
I was trying to make a decision about something once and talking it over with my mother. I don’t remember what the resolution or conversation was, but I do remember her conveying that “there is no dress rehearsal. You only get one chance.” I think about this often.
No matter how the future turns out, at least I know I cared enough to try. I tried to love others. To be generous and soulful. To love my husband and raise good kids. To make the world a little more beautiful. So that in 30 years, or however long God gives me on this earth, I can look back on my past without regret. I can look back and say I loved the journey and tried my best.
These are the thoughts that were swimming around in my head while I painted this painting, which I am naming Today, because that is all we have.
Today, 20 x 16, Oil on Panel