Live life the way you picture it.
It dawned on me that my story for years now has been that, "This is not how I pictured my life." Or, "I never thought my life would be like this." Even, "If this is what life is going to be daily, why bother."
It's time to start telling a new story. It's time to start living my life the way I picture it.
Last weekend I drove to Mooreland early Friday morning. My 4-Runner was loaded with dozens of paint brushes, numerous cans and bottles of paint, sketches, camera, computer....everything I needed to start a mural on the walls of my sister's new barbershop. She had asked me to paint a mural with images from Mooreland...the old water tower, the Co-Op, the Mooreland Cafe. Even though I said yes, I was scared to death. I haven't actually painted anything realistic in a long time. I had NEVER done anything on such a large scale before. And I certainly hadn't done any work that I knew people would actually see every day.
Nervously, I started painting the "sky". The already tan walls showing below the sky gave the impression of an unfolding landscape. Next, I gave the walls a coat of a golden yellow. Now I had sky and earth. Oh God, now what?
I began sketching in the buildings that Kristi wanted in the mural...the old Mooreland water tower, the Co-Op, and the Mooreland Cafe. Ok....this is starting to look like a real mural.
Then I started really painting, filling in details. I had my headphones on, listening to my music. I would step back occasionally to check my work. I had my hair pulled back, wearing just a tank top with an off-the-shoulder t-shirt draped over it, no bra, my comfy yoga pants, and tennis shoes. No one was there but me. Me and my art and all my stuff.
Throughout the process I would stop and just smile. Not just at the progress I was making, but at what I was doing. I was happy. I was just plain giddy standing there in this tiny barbershop, painting, listening to my music, no one else around. This is what I love to do. This is how I picture my life.
My brain didn't hurt from barking at kids who won't listen or pay attention. My stress level was zero compared to days at school spent trying desperately to get kids to learn when they couldn't possibly care less. I spent the day going at my own pace instead of at a break-neck speed just trying to keep up with all that needed to be done at school but that couldn't possibly get done. There was the occasional interruption from family stopping by to check my progress or get something from the shop. But that was good. I'm used to non-stop interruptions in my classroom whether it is from students being pulled out or discipline issues interrupting everything. I didn't have to eat lunch at 10:45 in the morning. I could take a break when I needed one. Oh, and I could go to the bathroom any time I wanted and as frequently as I wanted. That's huge.
This day was exactly as I pictured it. Relaxed, productive, creative. It was stress-free. I still had challenges to face and I stood on my feet all day, but at the end of the day, the tired feeling that I had was a good one. I didn't want to just go home and collapse into my bed. The next morning I woke up feeling rested, refreshed, ready to go again.
After a great breakfast of biscuits and gravy at the Mooreland Cafe, I was ready to get to work. The mural started to come to life. Adding layer after layer of paint, it began to turn into what I envisioned in my head.
After working for several hours, I still didn't finish on Saturday. As usual, when projecting completion time for a project, I didn't factor in all the "thinking" time I'd need. Time to work out details or time to move things around. To top things off, Saturday I started to get a really sore throat. That worried me. Would I be able to get up and finish on Sunday? If I was going to be getting up and going to school it would be a huge issue. Sore throat...barking at fourth graders...not good.
Sunday morning I woke up feeling better. I still had the sore throat but didn't have to do much talking. I went back to the shop and continued working. Even feeling somewhat under the weather, I was still happy to be working. What a contrast from when I am at school feeling under the weather. When I am at school feeling sick, all I want to do is go home and crawl into bed.
I realized I wasn't going to finish the mural on Sunday. I'd have to come back the following weekend. Road trip to do something creative! Whoohoo! Talk about living life the way I picture it. This is exactly how I envision my life. So maybe by taking the baby steps I've been taking, I really am on my way to that life I see so clearly in my head....a creative, productive, fulfilling, less stressful life. We build momentum with each of those baby steps which turn into longer strides and occur more frequently as we go along the right path.
Below is where I left the mural. I like it so far. I'm pretty proud of it, considering it is my very first one. It makes me happy and that's really all that matters to me.