Sunday, January 29, 2012

On a boat with a paddle

My birthday turned out to be a lot better than expected.  The day started off like any other day: I went to class followed by lab followed by gym.  The gym was the first place where my expectations were overcome.  To my surprise, I ran the longest and furthest I have every run before.  A pleasant surprise.  From there, I got ready for the planned festivities, which thanks to my roommate, was a sushi and candy sushi themed dinner party.  Each guest brought an ingredient for either candy sushi or real sushi, and we all proceeded to make some of the most delicious sushi I have ever had (and I did try an excessive amount).  Sushi was followed by Apples to Apples making the night complete.  Just another reminder that expectations can be exceeded and that expectations in general are not the best predictor of an outcome.

This year was the first year that I celebrated my birthday without my parents, which made it difficult.  Even though my parents weren't present, they sent me a bouquet of flowers in the mail all the way from New Jersey (something they get me every year for my birthday).

The card sent with the flowers brought tears to my eyes:

"Life doesn't always come with a road map,
Hope you always enjoy the ride....
.... and you never forget your way home."

It just reminded me that no matter where I am, I will always have a home where my family is and that I still have people that care about me.  Home is where the heart is, and although my heart is both here and in New Jersey, a part of me is still at home with my family.

Lastly, my roommate bought me a book on sketching as a gift.  I am very excited to open it and hopefully learn how to improve my sketches.  Below is a sketch I did a while back.  I was at a park and attempted to sketch the scene, but it did not come out as I had hoped (this book on sketching will hopefully help with that in the future).  I added the boat and paddles: this was my idea of being on a boat without a paddle.  I sketched this at a time where I felt lost.  I still feel lost at times, but I no longer think that I am on a boat without a paddle.  I'm on a boat and have paddles, but I do not know exactly where I'm going.  For this, I have time.

Once again, I am grateful for my friends and family for making my birthday so special!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sweet 23

In 24 hours, I will be turning 23.  It sounds pretty insignificant to most, but for some undetermined reason this year is hitting me pretty hard.  Turning 19 lead to the last year where I could blame my reckless behavior on being a teenager without any inhibitions.  Turning 20 meant that I had an entirely new decade to explore.  Turning 21, for the obvious reasons at the time, was an exciting birthday and was followed by an exhilarating year.  Turning 22 meant that I could finally say I was a year older than the young 21.  And now 23....

I have been dwelling on the decisions I have made and the things I have done in the last 22 years and nothing strikes me as great.  My accomplishments are not as grand and as high in number as I thought they would be. At 23 (at least almost), I feel old.  I cannot quite put my finger on why it is that I feel this way, but I have an inkling that my expectations of myself have clouded reality.  Growing up, I assumed I would get my Bachelor's degree from a prestigious university, travel the world, discover myself, find a well-paying job, meet my soul mate, start a family, and embark on "the adventure".  So far, I have managed to receive my Bachelor's degree and have slowly begun to discover who I truly am.  Not too shabby, but my expectations have gotten the best of me.  My plans have changed quite a bit in the last 5 months.  These alternations to the "plan" have caused me to reevaluate my goals and what it is that I truly want.  I feel like I have spent the last 22 years on a roller coaster that never stops.  I have taken a number of things for granted and have gotten lost on numerous occasions.  Twenty-three....

A majority of the time, I feel like my doings have not amounted to anything significant.  I forget to consider that I have years upon years to do all of the things that I have planned (and a number of things I have not planned).  Up until a few months ago, I had no idea what sketching and painting were all about.  I was not aware of the fact that there was more to life than science and studying.  Now I lead a duel life.  A life majorly devoted to sketching and painting, and to a smaller extent science.  These two different aspects have melted together.  The sketch below displays these two counterparts in my life.  A double-helical strand of DNA separates the two halves with science on the left and art/photography on the right.

I hope to find the perfect balance in art and science, joy and sadness, confidence and insecurity.  And even though I currently have this undying feeling that I have reached the pinnacle of my life and am on a downward slope, things can only get better from here on out.  I have all of the time in the world.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A new canvas

It is exactly midnight as I start writing this post - I should most definitely be sleeping as I have an early class tomorrow morning.  I just finished a painting, one that I am very proud of.  A picture of it will follow soon.  I am grasping new techniques quite rapidly, and each new painting gives me more confidence to continue on this painting adventure.

As I have delved into painting, I have, unfortunately, almost completely stopped sketching.  I have never really explored painting in depth and have, therefore, found it more exciting than sketching at the moment.  I still have a number of sketches I have not posted yet.  Below is one of those sketches.

I drew this while thinking of my brother.  As kids, him and I used to play badminton in the backyard for hours until it was dark and we could no longer see the birdie.  My brother and I have always been very close.  Upon graduating from high school, he became a personal trainer and went to college full-time.  He has now graduated from Rutgers University a semester early, and I couldn't be prouder.  My brother has now found himself on a very different journey compared to my own, but an exciting journey nevertheless.  I worry about him more than he knows, and hope that he continues on a path best for him.  

A long journey lies ahead for both him and I, but this period in our lives gives us an opportunity to really discover ourselves and who we really are.  I have been thinking about the past quite a bit in the last few weeks.  With the help of some pretty amazing people, I have come to terms with my past and understand that this past is not truly mine.  Today is what I have.  And then tomorrow followed by the day after that.  

I am now lucky enough to be able to document this journey daily in a journal given to me by a close friend.  This journal has become a new canvas for sharing my thoughts using words instead of sketches and paintings.

I leave you with a quote I found on a friend's blog.  It's beautiful.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

To a new year

It's a new year.  It seems that a lot has changed in the last few weeks and I couldn't be happier.  I feel like I have grown in more than one way, and these changes have really inspired a whole new me.  I am finally completely comfortable in my own skin, and have set new goals for myself that I intend to see all the way through.  I found this secret on another blog, and it just resonated with me.  I don't feel like I have lost anything, and would rather replace losses with changes.

Below is a sketch from almost two months ago.  It is of the window in my room adjacent to my bed.  In addition to the window, I sketched a full cup and a cup half empty (could be seen as a cup half full, but to me I saw a cup half empty).  I can finally say that my cup is full to the brim.

I have also decided to post some of my paintings.  I don't consider my first painting the best work of art, but it was a good start.  I was watching a movie where the film captured the moon illuminating some trees in the middle of the night.  This movie inspired me to paint something like that.

I then decided to paint a rendition of another painting for a friend.  I think this one turned out much better.  The sky is my favorite part.  I have found that painting is very relaxing and stress-relieving.  Sharing my artwork with my family and friends and seeing their reactions makes me so ridiculously happy.

I hope to continue sketching and painting in my free time.  I have a feeling that 2012 will be full of surprises, both good and bad, and I can't wait to see what adventures lie ahead.