I had an art teacher in elementary school who, when a student would get dismayed about their clay sculpture looking more like a deformed body part than a bust, would say, “if you mess it up, dress it up.” That’s dumb, I used to think. So because I messed up this quickly drying heap of clay, if I roll it in some glitter or paint, all of a sudden it’ll belong in the Museum of Modern Art? No, it’ll just look like a deformed body part that is meant to be hung in a Christmas tree. Today we refer to that as the Ke$ha treatment.
While I may not have understood the sentiment back then, I’d like to think my teacher was taking a page from the book of a television artist who was popular at the time. He would say, “we don’t make mistakes– we just have happy accidents.” I take this vague stroke of genius and like to apply it to life. And there have been many applications.
I want to grow up. I want to do things. And be things. As Ariel, from a little indie film called The Little Mermaid, once said: I want moooooore. Thirty years of age is tapping me on the shoulder, and I like to think he is holding one of those oversized hammers that Gallagher smashed watermelons with, except in this case the bits of watermelon flying into the crowd are all of my mistakes. Pow! Obliterated.
Now, I have a pretty fun job, with pretty amazing perks, and I can (most of the time) pay my bills.
So why can’t you just be happy with what you have? You ask.
I am happy. For now. But I have a fear:
I wake up one day and it’s too late. I open my eyes, laying in my reasonably numbered thread count sheets, and find out the happy has gone missing. Turns out, him and my youth eloped in the middle of the night, but not before abandoning their bastard child– Regret.
Regret? But that’s the thing I am supposed to have none of. I am supposed to go through life and be free of it.
I think to myself, Why, oh why didn’t I do that one thing that I always thought about doing with my life? And I can’t shake it.
That is the fear. The thing that fuels the fire. I have plenty of good things now. It’s the later that I am prepping for. It’s when the highs become the lows, and the fear no longer fuels the fire, just makes me cold. I may sound unappeasable, like I should just be content with my dinglehopper. I am very grateful for everything and everyone in my life. But I am not content, and I don’t want to be.
I am putting it in writing, with the hope that it’ll hold me accountable when I lose my steam. I don’t really have a plan (nothing goes according to those, anyway), just a vague direction. Bring on the happy accidents.