Something occurred to me as I was flipping through some old photographs I'd taken, years ago. I remembered that I had planned to make a photography book and do some other projects with these photos, but with the demands of my previous job and competing priorities, I never saw these through to the end. It was unlike me; I was always a doer and a planner. I spent so much time doing and planning, and taking care of others, that I forgot one of the things that is vital to happiness: I forgot to dream.
Somehow I lost track of when it was that I gave up dreaming -- I'm not talking about routine daydreaming (eg, winning the lottery; bumping into Mario Batali on the street and striking up a conversation with the end result being that you become lifelong friends and accompany him on his European eating adventures -- I admit, that was a detailed one). I'm talking about the dreams you have about what you're going to do with your life, or what you're going to accomplish. The dreams of doing something that you've always wanted to, but lacked the time/courage/resources/______. When children are young, we encourage them to dream big -- to not curb their imaginations; as they grow up into teenagers and young adults, we still tell them that they can do anything they set their minds to. With the boom of start-up companies and e-commerce, and fundraising campaigns like Kickstarter, kids are growing up these days to realize they really can do pretty much anything they set their minds to.
So, then, as an adult -- where did I lost my propensity to dream? When did I stop exercising this part of me -- the piece that yearns for art? To see it, to create it, to live it, and love it? I didn't paint for so many years, and I didn't even realize how much a piece of me was missing until I started doing it consistently again. I forgot how much I loved dreaming and then translating some of my dreams into reality. I gave up on nurturing this part of myself because I was too preoccupied with all of the other things in my life, and didn't realize how much fuller and richer my life is when I'm able to create. Art is both a question and the answer. It is balm to the strife of everyday living. I didn't even know I could be this happy until I started painting again.
And now that I know this, that I can still dream: What's to stop me from dreaming further? Painting is by part selfish, and selfless. You give of yourself for yourself, but also to create dialogue with others. I paint because now that I've begun again, I cannot stop again. I made a portfolio so I can dare to dream bigger -- to connect with a community, and so perhaps maybe someone will see one of my pieces and smile, as so many artists have done for me and countless others. And now that I know that I can still dream, I shall never stop.