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My senior year at Bearden High School (goooo Bulldogs!!) we were asked to provide a quote that would accompany our final yearbook photo. Without hesitation, I came up with the line from one of my all time favorite movies-- "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it." And if you've seen the movie, then it's not hard to imagine Matthew Broderick's character, Ferris Bueller, with his hands tucked behind his head looking directly at camera, i.e. his audience. i.e. YOU... US! It's true. He was right and I'm reminded of this fact 25 years later. So, before this year draws to a final close, I really want to take a quick look back at what the heck just happened to make my memories a little more concrete.

photo cred: Reed Schick

I almost forgot to mention the other part of that story. We were also asked to kinda predict where we'd be in 10 years (post senior glory) and I said I would probably end up marrying the Marlboro Man and living on a ranch in Wyoming. More along the lines of the Harrison Ford version and not so much a cowboy who smokes two packs a day and has emphysema. You catch my drift.

Here I am at 42 and although I don't want to sell myself short a year I must come to terms with something. I'm about to complete my 43rd year around the sun, so technically I'm more 43 than 42, but who cares, right? After 40 you pretty much stay 40 until you turn the big 5-0. I digress, afterall, I'm not here to talk about my age I'm here to reflect on the year that is (was) 2023... which is only 6 years away from the year that ARNOLD (make sure your brain reads that in a thick, Austrian accent) time travels to in the 1984 film, The Terminator. Let that sink in a minute... or don't. Whatever makes you feel better.

This year started out with a BANG! And by that I mean a very high tech robot removed a femal organ from my body that was being very violent and rude towards me. After the eviction and the healing process appeared in the rear view mirror, I no longer had to be angry at my malfunctioning body. So that's a huge plus! After all that bullshit was over with, a fog lifted and I was happy again. I could digest my surroundings fully and without interuption and with a greater appreciation for the world around me. I felt like I had a clean slate again. I made it a point to enjoy the fall colors this year and take in the magic of my favorite season because, if truth be told, I was robbed of it in 2022. But I truly believe it was a valuable life lesson and now a new quote comes to mind- "Without the rain, there would be no rainbow."

After the hysterectomy, I was ready to ROCK and take on new and exciting challenges. Like setting my art career aside to pursue a new job that would offer benefits and 401K and health insurance. I decided to become a Capacity Sourcing Analyst for a logistics company because, you know, that's every creative person's dream (insert eye roll here). But you don't know until you try, right? And in my case I tried for 6 weeks. Side note: that's how long it takes to develop carpal tunnel and for your ass to go flat. So if you're reading this and sitting at a desk you may want to put it down for a bit and go for a walk. It's really hard to take spontaneous dance breaks in a corporate setting, just FYI. And as an artist, you can do that any time you please!

Having a job that doesn't feed your soul is a great way to put a little fire under your ass. I can honestly say that I'm thankful to have had that perspective because it gifted me an insane amount of gratitude. I realized that I could wake up every morning and hit the ground running doing exactly what I love doing--PAINTING. I spent the rest of the year with a new sense of purpose and a greater sense of self. I decided not to put the things that offer me the greatest joy on the back burner and instead really embrace my inner artist with every morsel of my being. The universe threw new opportunities at me and I took on projects that I never saw coming.

Lastly, I look around and feel incredibly fortunate to have the friends and family that the universe has kindly gifted me. Of the 8 billion people on this planet, the people in your immediate orbit are there for a reason. At the end of the day, that is what matters most. If you don't love your family, it's ok- find a family you DO love and who remind you of not only the person you are, but the person you will become. Because if you're not changing then you're not growing and if you're not learning as you go then what's the point? Now, go out there and make some mistakes because that's where the adventure lives.


With love,



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