Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda

Daily Prompt: Regrets, I’ve Had a Few

What’s your biggest regret? How would your life have been different if you’d made another decision?

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As far as regrets go, I have many. Most of the major ones were brought to light in my previous post: Reflections of a Life Wasted. So, my regrets aren’t any great secret…anymore.

I probably wouldn’t be able to pick just one and call it my biggest, so I think I’ll just pick one of the earliest and touch on that. It’s a pretty big regret as far as my life’s direction is concerned, though.

You see, I have a talent. My mother has the same talent, and that talent has now been passed down to my daughter as well.

We’re not singers. Truth be told, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. I can see people around me visibly cringe when I belt out the words to whatever the praise and worship team is playing in church on Sundays. Yeah, it’s pretty bad. I don’t think I’ve ever heard my mother sing out loud, and my daughter has a decent singing voice, but like her dear old mom, she’s totally tone deaf.

We’re not musicians, either. I played the clarinet for about 2 weeks in middle school and dropped out. I barely spent enough time at it to learn Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. My daughter “tinkers” with the guitar, but that hasn’t turned into anything serious.  She’s learned bits and pieces of a few simpler songs from Youtube. I tried my hand at Jingle Bells on my step daughter’s keyboard once, because she’s a total piano prodigy and makes it look so easy. I can assure you, though, that it isn’t. Not for me, anyway. I failed miserably. Never even made it past “Jingle all the way.”

No, our talent is solely artistic. We can draw, paint, craft, and create like there’s no tomorrow. We’re full of imagination, all 3 of us, and our ideas flow like spiked punch at a Junior Prom. Projects that my mother did over the years always amazed me, and at 16, my daughter is as talented as I am, possibly even more. Here is a sampling of some of my daughter’s projects:

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Yep. We’re those crafty, creative do-it yourself types. Anyone I know can come to me and say, “I need an idea for this,” and I’ll have several almost instantly. It just comes naturally to me.

I exceled in all of my art classes throughout my entire school career. My peers would always marvel at my creations. I remember working on an undersea perspective scene in colored pencil at one point during my senior year.  I had some free time in history class one day, so I got out my pencils and did some work on it. I remember the entire class gathering around me ‘oooing’ and ‘ahhing’ as I worked. I even received several offers from people to buy that piece.

When my friends, peers, and co-workers would discover that I had artistic skill, they would always come to me for favors and with job requests. I’ve been the go-to ‘art girl’ in every circle that I’ve traveled in. At the factory I worked in fresh out of high school, a co-worker hired me to do a pencil drawing of her mother. I was asked to do some wacky “over the hill” pictures to hang up for our Supervisor’s birthday. I also designed the front of our March of Dimes Walk America Team T-shirts for one of the many years that our group participated.

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The requests still pour in quite often. My husband’s office assistant paid me to do some posters for her to use in a skit that she was doing for the kids at her church. People at my church have come to me with project requests, such as signs that I was asked to make to promote our daycare. I did some signs for a friend for her skit, and I even reworked some pieces of an old desk that I found into paintings to hang in our youth room:

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Now, don’t think I’m complaining. I love art, and I love doing projects for people. I just started teaching my own small art class at the co-op that our homeschooled kids attend, and I really enjoy it. If I could just get the kids in my class to enjoy art as much as I do and take the projects a little more seriously, it would be like a dream come true. Their lack of enthusiasm reminds me of myself at a young age…

Which finally leads me to one of my biggest regrets; that I never cared enough when I was young to make a career stem from my talent. I had opportunities, of course. I entered a scholarship contest once in which they picked 3 lucky students out of 300 to receive a free ride through Kendall College of Art and Design. I certainly wasn’t chosen. The 3 that were picked that day, well, amazing would have been an understatement when describing their talents.

So, I walked away full of self-pity, convinced that I didn’t even have skill enough to turn my talent into a career. I did and still do have skill, of course, but it wasn’t the level of skill that those “winners” had. So, I just simply gave up.

There were other scholarships out there that I could have gone after, and other ways I could have made it into college to pursue a career in the art field, but I just didn’t have the ambition after that. I had allowed doubt and discouragement to creep into my head and replace my vision and focus. Now, my lack of ambition in youth has turned into regret as I find myself pushing 40.

Had I just applied myself at the time in my life when it was most crucial, I believe now that I could have gone places with my gift. I could have made a decent career for myself. I could be helping support my family financially better than I am. I could be proud of myself and have something to show for my talent, other than a bunch of artsy favors done for friends and miscellaneous craft projects around my house.

I can’t go back and change it, though, so there’s no use crying over wasted skill.  I’ll just pour the knowledge that I’ve picked up over the years into teaching my art class, and hope that at least some of those kids will have the focus and ambition to further their careers and never give up.

There’s a good lesson for my art students, right?

Don’t be a quitter, kids. It will catch up with you, someday.

In the form of regret.

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Procrastinate? Me? Yeah, Right.

Daily Prompt: Procrastination

What have you been putting off doing? Why?

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I really tend NOT to procrastinate at all if I can help it.

Getting stuff out of the way is a nice little side effect of having OCD. The anxiety that I feel when something’s hanging over my head waiting to be done, weighing on my mind, worrying me, and stealing my focus away from more important things is…well…just not worth it. I feel much freer if I just get things done as soon as possible.

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Now, I’m a yes person. The letters N and O really aren’t that hard to pronounce when put together, but for whatever reason, my tongue, lips, and vocal cords have the hardest time working these 2 letters into an audible, spoken word.

So, there have been times (not many though), when I’ve agreed to do something out of habit, and after I’ve had a chance to really sit and think it over, have simply decided not to, for whatever reason; lack of time, lack of resources…sometimes, even a lack of desire. In my mind, though, a task that I’ve changed my mind about doing is much different than just plain putting it off. I really do try my best to be true to my word, however. I really like being someone that people can depend on. It makes me feel good.

Right now I can honestly say that there are only 2 things on my plate that I should do, but just haven’t yet.

One is finishing this:

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This guy has been sitting unfinished inside my drawing tablet in the closet for a while now. I hate to leave a project unfinished. I’ll always work on one until it’s completed before moving on to the next. It’s just how I am. Putting my focus into too many projects at a time just feels chaotic to me. My daughter is the exact opposite, but just as artistic as I am. Her room is currently littered with half-finished projects.

I really should finish it, and I’d like to finish it, but my mom asked for her Collie Concepts book back ages ago, which rendered me unable to finish the drawing unless I had a picture to work from. In theory, though, I could go to the local public library about a mile away (if that) and check the book out and go from there. I suppose I’ve just been too lazy to follow through this time around.

Secondly, I need to type up an outline to present at the upcoming orientation for the high school art class that I’m going to be teaching once a week at the co-op that our kids attend. An outline that covers classroom rules, how I intend to grade, what the class will entail, a semester project list, etc.

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I haven’t done this yet because my absent minded husband (who will be teaching Geometry and Chemistry 4 hours a week this year) conveniently misplaced the notes that we had from the teachers meeting that explained exactly what information we should include in our outlines. I have some of what needs to be covered committed to memory, as you can see, just not all of it. If there’s anything I hate just as much as not finishing a project that I’ve started, or not getting a task out of the way a.s.a.p., it’s trying to “wing it.” I’m an information person. I need things spelled out for me, sometimes in detail. I don’t want vague. I can’t work with vague.

Eventually though, and soon because orientation is in 8 days, I’ll just have to suck it up and do the best I can with the information that I remember, and hopefully it will turn out to be sufficient.

What a great way to gain students and prove that I’ll be a competent teacher, huh?

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