Someone once told me that the older you get the faster time goes by. Every passing year seems to make this statement truer than ever. We often try to figure out how long ago something occurred and realizing that it was longer ago than we thought, we say, “Wow! Time flies, huh?”
The speed of time can often make us feel that our lives are out of our own control. Life doesn’t seem to slow down long enough to let us exert intention and control over how we spend our time. This makes the future come so quick that we don’t formulate a plan in time to handle it. It also makes the past seem so distant that we fail to reflect upon what has happened to us. Both planning and reflecting require intentional effort.
A few years ago my family came up with a bizarre idea for a New Years tradition. Each year one of us chooses a subject, we all build it out of Popsicle sticks and then burn it to the ground at midnight. The first few years we built the Eiffel Tower, a hot air balloon and a Trojan horse large enough for a child to sit on its back.
This year it was my turn to decide what we would build so I chose an old ship modeled after the Santa Maria. At first I worried that it would be too complicated but I shouldn’t have doubted my family’s creative talent.
Back in the mid-90s, there was a band called East to West that sang a song that said, “I want to live like I’m leaving.” The idea in these lyrics has never left me. How different would our lives be if we lived as though we were leaving? Although the song referenced leaving this life for eternity, I have been thinking about living like I’m leaving the places that I take for granted now.
The reality is that we are leaving. We’re leaving jobs, cities, friends, family and eventually this life. Wherever we are in our lives, it is only a matter of time before we will leave. We often act as though we have all the time in the world to enjoy places, try new adventures and express our love for the people in our lives. Living like we’re leaving means making the most of the time that we have wherever we are at in life.
How does a person leave the closest place to paradise that they’ve ever experienced? This is the question I have been pondering. One of my most useful discoveries has been that if you want to find a great place to live, listen to how the people who live there talk about it. There’s a reason why people love to live in certain areas of the country. Sure, there are contented people everywhere who appreciate their community because it is home. When an area gains a widespread reputation as an exceptional place to live, it is the acclaim of the locals, not their contentment, that spreads the word.
I heard about how wonderful San Diego was long before I had traveled west of Colorado. In the Summer of 2004, I packed up my red Toyota Celica convertible and told my sister, who I brought along for the journey, that I was looking for a place out west near the mountains and the ocean. I had grown restless in Minneapolis and realized that there was no reason for me to limit my possibilities to the midwest.
It has been nine long months since I last posted to my blog. Pondering this duration, I’m not sure if I should be more embarrassed by my own consistency or excited about how life has progressed. The gestation and birth of so much love in my life over the past nine months has been almost too beautiful to describe.
My last post was on January 22nd, right around the time I was building the photo book that I would present to the love of my life while asking her to marry me. This creative project consumed my attention because I wanted the proposal to speak love as a lasting memory to the most creative person I’d ever met. Scheduling challenges with family and work forced our wedding into the last week of June and it took every bit of effort that we had available to make a beautiful wedding happen with so little time. After traveling to Santorini and Rhodes for a lovely honeymoon, we settled into a home in San Diego’s South Park neighborhood.
Since our return in early July I’ve struggled to resume blogging. While considering why it has been hard to begin writing again as well as why I tend to start and stop with blogging, I’ve made a few discoveries. I’ll share them here in case you can relate to them in your own creative efforts and also for my own processing.
I thought long and hard about what to give Bethany, my girlfriend, for her birthday this year. I wanted the gift to be a creative way to remember some of our best moments together. Working my way through many iterations of this potential gift I finally landed on an idea that seemed to have potential.
I found a bulletin board with a natural wood frame and a surface that resembled canvas. Realizing that it was not only Bethany’s style but also a great way remember our adventures, I knew that I had finally uncovered the right gift.
I have reflected recently on how much insight artists seem to have on life. As they convey their own feelings, experiences and ideas through art they reach us in unexpected ways.
I used to think that I was primarily a philosophical thinker. While pursuing knowledge I began to feel like I was drying up so I picked up photography. I received so much affirmation from friends and family for my initial efforts that I began to lean back toward art as my primary form of expression. This may have been partially due to the fact that I was required to read and write for my education while art was purely voluntary and fun.
When I graduated from seminary and was no longer required to do so much writing I started to enjoy it again as a way to articulate what I was learning from life. Now I’m trying to find where these two vehicles of expression collide. I think and therefore I write. I feel and therefore I express. I want both my writing to convey art and my art to express truth.
This is the initial blog post I have written first in a memo book before typing it up. I have been reconnecting with the natural transfer of thought from pencil to paper and it has been both fun and inspiring. The classic style of Field Notes and the story behind them is largely responsible for this rebirth.
I have been interested in Field Notes ever since they were first released. Although attracted to their classic style I didn’t know how I would use them since I was capturing more and more of my life through digital means.
I have tried out every writing or handwriting app that I could find for iPad and iPhone only to make a surprising discovery. The apps that I liked best most closely imitated physical notebooks. This begs the question, why use an imitation rather than the real deal?
Exploring the intersection between apps and life has become almost a hobby for me. I like discovering ways to do things better. Although apps and a digital workflow present a significant advantage in many areas, replacing notebooks might be where they have met their match.
It is sad how often we try to determine our own value by how much we feel that we have accomplished. There are several problems with this assessment. First, we tend to focus on this evaluation most when we feel the least accomplished. When things have not worked out as hoped in our lives we begin to reflect on our own apparent worthlessness.
The second problem is that the more often we conclude that we are worthless the more likely we are to live as if this is the case. Why try when nothing we endeavor to accomplish works anyway? This notion can be debilitating and can keep us from making progress toward our goals. Hope is one of our primary motivators. With the loss of hope goes the confidence that with time and effort our situation can improve.