Updated: May 10, 2022
What would you do if you had a time machine? When my son was young, he made his share of mistakes, so did I. When he did, he would often say, "Ugh, I wish I had a time machine." I would listen, let him stew (and learn, hoping he was putting 2 and 2 together) and would respond with, "You DO have a time machine, but it only goes forward."
I have long suspected that raising a child is really all about the parents' growth and learning. For better or worse, the child will grow up regardless. The real, deep dark, and brutal learning is done by the parents. From my perspective, growing up is agony! All the mistakes, all the worry, all the figuring it out as you go, fake-it-til-you-make it facades we parents create then have to keep up. Yes, the kids are watching us go through it, but their heads are so filled with hormones and physical growing, I suspect they are really passive observers, basically growing sponges soaking up everything around them while only half paying attention to us. Thank God!
I thought this forward-moving time machine idea was frankly one of my better 'good-mom' teaching moments. (Repeating it ad-nauseum? Maybe not so much.) At age 24, I think it's finally sinking in,,,to me. MY time machine only goes forward, too!
So, what could I do today to profoundly affect my future?
Well, it's 1:56am. Getting a good night sleep might be a place to start (but the house is so quiet!)
That 15 minutes a day of drawing is really paying off; I'd/I'll keep doing that.
And that MFA I got a few years ago was a great push to my art life! Good move there, Sara!
Wait! Did you catch that? It didn't take me long to look back instead of forward. It's so much easier to see what I should have done (and, oh darn, it's in the past, I can't do anything about that now.) than to really look at the future and say what I want. And to ask what I need to do today to make that happen? It is harder to go forward than to look back, it's harder to take responsibility for tomorrow than regret for yesterday, and it's easier to stay bummed today than take steps for joy for tomorrow. Funny (not really), it only took me 24 years (of telling my son that) to Get it. (And, boy, do I wish I had listened more when my kids and I were growing up. Sorry kids.)
What does this have to do with art? Hey, I am an artist. Artists ask questions; they don't answer them, am I right. I mean, AM I right?
So, if you had a time machine (you do), what would you do with it?