Van Gough, Failure, and Mosaics

I really don’t cry over too many things. My mantra in life is that I won’t cry over anything or anyone in life that wont (or can’t) cry over me. The one exception is I would cry if my computer crashed and I was unable to recover all of my photos. This summer I’ve been walking down memory lane of past Christmases, college, random flowers and everything that was important to me since I got my first digital camera way back in 2006 so I could back everything up to the cloud.

I look at most of the pictures and see happy times. I know I had worries, but I couldn’t tell you what they were at that time. However, I can look at photos during a spring break trip my friends and I took in 2010 and I can tell you exactly what my biggest worry was. The winter school quarter had just ended and I was really nervous about my grade for anatomy. I did not do well on any of the midterms and I was pretty sure I didn’t miraculously get an A on the final that would have boosted my grade to a passing “C”. I was right. The grades were posted and I got a “D” in the class. I emailed the professor and he told me there was nothing he could do because my grade was far below the average. To put it in context, I thought my life was over. This was my senior year of college and this was a required class I needed to graduate. It was also a pre-requisite for the next class that I was required to take in the Spring (also needed for graduation), and both classes were offered only once a year. It seemed as if I would not graduate on time and I would have to wait an entire year to hopefully pass it the next time.

I told my friend Cindy and she said, “Well, there is nothing you can about it now so you might as well just enjoy the trip.” And I did… as much as I could. I have the smiling pictures to prove it.

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We were so excited to take BART. If I would have known that I would eventually move to S.F. and use BART all of the time

As most of you know, I graduated on time (you should email and ask me how that happened) with the D on my transcript and life moved forward and I survived to tell about it. It didn’t stop me from pursuing more education.

So this is what I learned:

1. We get so anxious about the future that we hardly stop and realize how far we have come and how strong we are because of it. Setbacks, fails, and disappointments are just as important as the success, applause, and achievements. I just hope for more good memories than bad. More successes than failures. And to not be defeated by any situation.

2.  No matter what we are going through in life, good and bad, it is just a snap shot.  It’s not the defining picture of our life. We are not trapped in a moment or a season of life… unless you chose to be.

3.   Most of the things we are going through won’t matter this time next year. We probably won’t be affected by the outcome of the disagreements or whatever it is that bothered us. I’m not talking about major crises. I’m thinking more along the lines of all the idiots in our lives that irk us and small mishaps that are part of life. You’re not going to miss that $5 you spent on coffee next year and go into debt 20 years later because of it (unless it turns into a habit you can’t afford 20 years from now). You’re not going to have sleep issues for the rest of your life because you stayed up real late that one Tuesday night. Most things work out… eventually. Our bodies and our lives are designed to reach homeostasis. No matter how good or how bad, up or down, left or right, we will always try to make are way back to baseline.

4.    The fact that you are reading this means that we know each other and that there is at least one person in your life who won’t watch you destroy your life into oblivion.

5.   All of the moments in our life create a bigger picture of who we are. When I look back at my pictures of my life nothing brings tears, shame, or regret. (I’m not saying everyday feels like I won the lotto and everyone around me is o.k., but relatively speaking I acknowledge that my existence has been pretty peaceful.) It is probably why I’m attracted to the painting ‘Wheat Fields with Cypresses’ by van Gough. (You should google the picture). The picture is of a clear day with ¾ of clear skies in soft light blue paints.

6.   On the other hand, some people have some really, really dark times. Your life is probably a little more akin to van Gough’s ‘Starry Night’. The blues are a little darker. The indigo cries in a way that sky blue doesn’t. The skies are a little more turbulent. But it still is very beautiful and a lot more people resonate with ‘Starry Night’ more so than ‘Wheat Fields with Cypresses’.

7.    My other favorite type of art is mosaics. It’s not the individual pieces of glass that are beautiful. It’s the broken and fragmented pieces that come together to make a complete work of art. The purpose of some pieces make no sense until the work is completed. Just like the snap shots of our lives. Somethings only make sense in retrospect. One of my favorite quotes is: When everything seems to be falling apart it may be because everything is falling into place. Bonus quote: God takes the broken pieces of our lives and turns them into a beautiful mosaic.

My New Year Resolution this year is to consume less, produce more, and waste nothing to help me stay grateful and grounded in the moment. When I was thinking about what I was going to write I was trying to figure out how going through at old photos fit with the theme. I decided that reflecting on the pass prohibits me from being consumed by anxiety over what is next.

As always, I love to hear your thoughts…

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