Art is a really interesting road. Where one begins and where one lands are drastically different places! I couldn't have imagined being here when I first embarked on this journey. I suppose I was lucky to have crossed paths with people who dropped the occasional wisdom-bomb on me.
Once, a random stranger engaged me in conversation and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Cliche as it may be, I said artist and she leaned in and whispered to me, "Copy the masters and keep good records. Trust me." And, whoever she was, was right. And I made a good call heeding a stranger's word. Something in her eyes said she was looking out.
She wasn't the first or last stranger to help me in such a way. In fact, I received advice from random strangers so frequently that I entwined their wisdom into the fabric of my life. I learned to recognize it. Then, I learned not to let it go. Of course, it's best to know which bits to keep and which to throw. More often than not, these people were significantly older than me and I love every last geriatric bit of each of them!
When I was in my 20's, I was a tattoo artist with a unique fashion sense and purple hair. One day, I was hitching a ride on my friend's shoulders through Central Park being a bit wild when some old guy (I say that as if I'm not just around the corner, lol) yelled up at me, "I love your hair! You sure know how to live life young lady! (He leaned in) Don't ever let anyone change you." I didn't. At the core, no one can change me. I built me just the way I like me and I love that I had the support of a random geezer in NYC. I'm so grateful for that guy because on those days it felt like everyone was against my purple hair and the judgment of their colorless worlds was too much to bear, I thought of him and we made it through.
I love all my encounters with wise and generous strangers. They always gave me such priceless gifts! A vicarious lesson, a tid-bit of advice, a note of what I'll value when I, too, become old. That's how I learned to value the things that matter most when I was so young. I always said, follow the old people... they lead to wisdom! But aaalsooo... follow the young people because... well, like Whitney Houston sang, "I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way." That stuck with me since the fifth grade. Anyway, I'm trying but those little nuggets just don't wanna listen sometimes! You could lead a horse to water...
So, notice in the stories the strangers always lean in to tell me stuff. I learned to pay attention to the people who lean in as if they're telling a secret. They often have the best advice! Sometimes not. Definitely use your best judgment! Some of those bastards just wanna f*** with you. Just sayin'. There's always some fraction of any group who are complete a-holes. But like, 97.5% of them are coming from a good place. Their words should be pondered before they're dismissed, at the very least.
The down-side of becoming friends with old people is that middle-age becomes a pretty sad place when they all start falling apart. That's why young people are necessary... Balance. The little buggers often bring the sunshine! Ok, that's definitely enough story-time! Live. Learn. Love. That is all.
Ooo...except for this: don't think these stories have little to do with art. Never underestimate the value of intangibles or their place in your world. More often than not, they're just what you need! Now, that is all ;)