The song “Once in a lifetime” by the Talking Heads has been going through my head, mainly because of the line, “You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”
I won the AVA (Artlink Visual Arts) award. I don’t know about the other winners, but I have been reminiscing about my journey. Obviously, one day I decided that this was what I wanted to do. And then I did something entirely crazy. I quit my day job. But I didn’t do it without testing the waters first. I put my work out there and then observed the response. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do. I didn’t know all of the details, but I knew it was going to involve more than painting all day. I began this journey on faith. I knew myself. I knew I would be willing to do the hard work. And I had a network of friends that I knew I could turn to whenever I needed advice.
It is funny how once you decide to do something so drastic, everything can just seem to fall into place as if the world is confirming your decisions. One surprising confirmation came from my volunteer at Lutheran Hospital. It was my privilege to work with Janet. I never had the responsibility of managing someone before. I remember our discussion regarding her skills and interests. Thinking about it now, it was kind of funny. She told me that she was there to do whatever I needed her to do. What an awesome attitude! I explained that I wanted her to enjoy her work and I wanted her to enjoy working “here.” (Obviously, I know nothing about managing anyone.) After all, I was the one getting paid, therefore I would do the not-so-fun work. Although I must say, it was really tempting to dump the not-so-fun work onto someone else. Sometime after we got through that, she started calling me “Big Bad Lisa.” “Big Bad” for short.
Once I decided that I was going to pursue this art dream, Janet told me that I was going to need to know bookkeeping – something I had never thought of. As an incredible gift to me, she taught me how to do double-entry bookkeeping. Janet had become another confirmation, telling me that I was moving in the right direction by giving me another skill that I would need as I ventured out on this journey. Not only did she teach me bookkeeping, I learned that I am not alone on this journey. She also taught me to “get on my horse and ride.”
Unlike the song “Once in a Lifetime,” where the theme is aimlessly living life, I do know how I got here. I have a plan and I work at it. Even though I didn’t know all of the details, and I have faced hurdles, I am still moving, if not falling, forward. But sometimes, it still feels like a dream. Of all the things I knew, I knew that I didn’t want to go to my grave wondering, “what if?”
There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.