Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I’ve been spending a lot of time recently conducting a personal retrospective of my work.  Fortunately I have digital files of most of my artwork, as well as portfolios filled with drawings and sketches from the past 50 plus years.  The volume of the work is impressive.  Most of it is pretty good, some of it is very good, and some of it is not so good to awful.  I have enjoyed seeing the evolution of the art, and have been sobered by the reminders of the failures.  The experience has inspired me to move forward, building on the good while learning from the bad.

To a lesser extent I’ve been doing the same thing with my personal life.  The Internet and social mediums allow me to reach out to distant family, and old friends and acquaintances, to rekindle old relationships, establish new ones, or to nurture cherished memories. 

The accumulation of years – I am weeks away from completing my 75th – seems to push us backwards, ever deeper into the past.  Nostalgia can easily become the default setting that drives our thinking.  This push into the past is enhanced by another characteristic tendency of age – the reluctance to move forward into new and unfamiliar directions and the fear of re-defining ourselves.  There is comfort and security in staying close to what we know. Most of the “some days” are behind us, and experience has blunted the unbridled enthusiasm of youth. 

Fortunately it doesn’t have to be this way, at least not totally. With a little effort and a lot of commitment it is possible to find the proper balance between these opposing directions. Where we place the fulcrum depends on individual preferences. Reaching into the past can allow us to re-visit both the good and the bad, perhaps providing new insights on what we once thought, or did.  There may be lessons to be learned that will provide some guidance for what is still to come. Perhaps there will be an opportunity to complete something left undone, to re-kindle or redefine old relationships.

The challenge is to learn from the past so we can move forward with our lives.  I want my priority to be on what lies ahead.

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