Though I moved into my new place just over three months ago, my walls are largely bare. I want to fill them with art, but I’m taking my time. I have a plan.
At some point, I realized that I have a lot of friends who are artists. I think it would be fun to pay them to create pieces of art for me. Apparently, they think it’d be fun too. Everyone I’ve approached has been eager to work on a personalized commission.
I’m just geting started with this project, but already have a handful of pieces. For instance, here’s a corner of the dining room:
From left to right:
- The yellow ceramic shell on top of the cabinet was created by Castle Riecke and her husband, Jim. When I was in high school, Castle was my first serious girlfriend. We reconnected a few years ago, and now try to hike or have coffee when time allows.
- I commissioned the Kermit painting from Jolie Guillebeau. My favorite frog is sipping scotch and smoking a pipe while sitting on a pile of personal finance books. I love it.
- The large ceramic vase on the floor was made by Kim’s cousin Freddie, who is better known as another type of artist.
When I met my friend Lisa for coffee a couple of weeks ago, I realized that she too has an artistic bent. She recently took some graphic design courses at a local university, and she’s just begun apprenticing with a fellow who does letterpress printing. She loves it.
“Hey,” I said. “I’ve been buying art from friends. Would you be interested in creating something for me?”
“Sure!” she said. She seemed excited. “Get me a few lines of text, and I’ll work on it over the next few months.”
That sounded awesome — but then I felt pressured to come up with something worthy of her work. I considered giving her one of my favorite quotes to play with, but then I decided I’d like something more personal. So, I spent a couple of hours last week compressing my life philosophy into a few sentences. When I’d finished, I’d boiled my personal creed down to one hundred words.
Breathe. Self-care comes first: Nurture your mind, body, and spirit. Be optimistic. Choose happiness. Don’t take things personally, and don’t make assumptions. Be good to people. Foster friendships. Be vulnerable and love passionately. Trust others. Trust yourself. Always do your best, but embrace the imperfections. Refuse to let fear guide your decision-making process. Act, even when you’re afraid. Ask for what you want. Collect opportunities, and create your own luck. Explore. Try new things, and keep an open mind. Be present in the moment. Share without reservation. Do what you love — do it often. Cultivate gratitude and joy.
Where possible above, I’ve linked to the person who taught me each lesson.
Meanwhile, on a related note, somebody posted an interesting question on AskMetafilter yesterday. RapcityinBlue wondered: “What’s the best piece of advice you got that worked nearly right away?” I always enjoy reading responses to this sort of thing. This time was no different. Here are some of my favorite nuggets of wisdom:
- Listen when someone tells you something about themselves.
- Never miss a chance to nap, ride a train, or let someone teach you something new.
- Smile when you pick up the phone.
- Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
- Create a rule/filter in your e-mail client that holds all outgoing mail for 5 minutes.
- Never cut what you can untie.
There are many other great tips in that thread, from advice about how to handle specific situations (snowboarding, computer programming) to general principles for living a happier life. It’s awesome.
I love it when people share the rules that help them lead a better life. What are some of yours?