I have transformed immensely in the past year. I never would have guessed in a million years I would be the person that I am today. I started this blog with a vague sense that I wanted to explore what was meaningful in life.

It was intended to be an occasional hobby.  I loved the idea of being a blogger. I thought it was sophisticated and cool. I had just discovered movies for people interested in philosophy and avant-garde art, and I thought, “Now this is something I can get into.”

Now, the process of constant remembering, reflection, and growth has led me to greater self-understanding than I ever could have imagined. It’s true that you never who you are until you write (or create).

At my core, I can sense a deep feeling that I have a lot of growing to do as an individual. And I’m on exactly the right path to get there. This is at once exciting and frustrating. It’s exciting because it means that I recognize the road to my next level of growth and fulfillment. But it’s frustrating because I wish I had started along sooner.

Yesterday I wrote about Austin Kleon. He’s been creating for many years. He’s a well-developed artist with a lot of practice and creative expertise. I look at him and people like him, and I think, “Man, it must be great to know all about W.H. Auden and all the other people that I don’t know that I don’t know.”

You know you are on a wonderful journey if the only concern you have is why couldn’t I have begun earlier. 

I know, though, that I am moving at a pace that’s just right for me, that my life has unfolded perfectly.

I sincerely love who I am and who I am becoming… and I think if you were to pick one clear definition of success, that wouldn’t be a bad one.

I have a great life right now. It’s hard (really hard), but the end of my master’s program is in sight.

And I can tell I’m developing my own voice because I am developing clear inspirations.

I guess, in a super complicated way, what I’m getting at is this: Despite whatever, it seems I’m on my way to a really fulfilling life. And it’s awesome.

 

I’ve heard of Austin Kleon from his book Steal Like an ArtistI haven’t read the book yet, but it’s on my reading list. I was listening to an interview with him on the podcast Good Life Project and was blown away.

Sure, his book seemed interesting. But his mind was – extraordinary.

When it comes to art, I tend to find Sturgeon’s law holds up, that is “ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Of course, it’s not “crap crap.” Like, it’s not terrible, but it doesn’t resonate deeply with you. It doesn’t excite you. It doesn’t give you goosebumps when you experience it.

But every once a while. Boom. The needle on your inner compass swings hard toward an artist’s creation.

The list of inspirations he rattles off in the podcast is an all-star line-up of artistic forces: Henry David Thoreau, Shel Silverstein, David Sedaris, and more. And he exposed me to folks I didn’t know about, particularly, Twyla Tharp.

So I decided to check out his website. He blogs daily (which I love). After looking over his Instagram, I got a sense of his art. I thought it was good, but it wasn’t amazing.

As you can see, it’s good, certainly. And I still think his book is definitely worth checking out. But I have seen similar things like Brian Dettmer’s work.

Then, I found a blog post where he showed his intense journals… and was blown away.

He follows a meticulous process of notetaking on a tiny journal, transferring that to a big journal in the morning after breakfast, and logging in greater detail about his life after his journaling.

His notebook is a remarkable hodgepodge of awesome – the best kind of scrapbook.

I can’t wait to explore more of Kleon’s work. It seems like an endless spring of inspiration for me. I hope you love it too. Here’s a taste:

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Good mentors are like good friends because they’re each rare.

Most mentorships fizzle out, but occasionally, you find one who has both the selflessness to share and the ability to see something special in you (if you’re trying).

Hold on to those who take the time, those that are consistent and follow through. For they are the keys to your self-actualization.

Good friends are like four-leaf clovers: they’re rare. But when you find them, they offer so much more than luck. They bring comfort in struggle, perspective in conflict,  and encouragement in self-improvement.

Most of those we encounter are traveling along paths that make it difficult to relate. They possess different values, and they’re usually uninterested in a meaningful connection. It’s unfortunate and might beg the question, “Why is it so hard to feel belonging?”

Yes, this is a hard fact of life. But understanding it gives us the power to appreciate when we’ve finally found someone we connect with, to treasure them like a second self – because life requires companionship.

 

What matters: You’ve tried your absolute best, you’re happy or this – you believe – will make you happy soon, and, if it doesn’t work out, this too shall pass.

I was rewatching Spongebob the other day. In season three, there’s this episode where Squidward goes to a graveyard and lays flowers at the grave of his hopes and dreams.

What he doesn’t realize is that he gave up on them to work in fast food. And his life could change at any moment if only he had the resolve.

Never doubt the possibility of reinvention.

And stop trying to live up to other’s expectations and believe your best is good enough.

The Turtle and the Hare got it right – have faith, for there’s no greater force than dedicated consistency.

This is advice from Seth Godin.

It’s meaning has evolved for me.

Today, it means “don’t listen to people who don’t know you when it comes to evaluating your self-worth” and “don’t be bogged down by the cynicism and discouragement from people who don’t believe in your vision.”

Success and life are what you make of them.

It’s true that some stuff you simply aren’t cut out for.

But when you know that you know that you know that you’ve got talent and vision and something of worth – fight.

Fight again and again and again and again and again and again.

And then fight some more.

We can’t let go of our ideals, hopes, and dreams.

We must cling desperately to who we seek to become if we genuinely think we’ve got a shot.

So go, take your shot.

Good things can wait.

Besides, how good are they if they take away from your happiness?

They say adulthood requires suffering. It’s a lie you’ve been told.

Sure, you’ve got to be disciplined, but don’t suffer regularly for a paycheck.

Take your time and appreciate what you have, particularly when your plate is full.

There’s so much wonder and excitement and good books and amazing experiences out there.

And so much to look forward to, even things you might not expect.

So quit worrying. Work will always be there. And a good life requires play and appreciation.