This week, I kick off my last trip around the sun as a 50-something year old. As with every other year, I’ll be on a mission to make the absolute most of it. My 50’s have treated me very well -- and I have a feeling my 60’s will be even better.
There’s a certain power that comes with aging.
It’s a strength -- in knowing that I’ve accumulated an amazing plethora of experiences to guide my way.
It’s a sense of resilience -- in knowing that I have what I need to handle any obstacles that seek to deter me.
It’s an excitement -- in knowing that my best is still yet to come.
Looking back, I don’t think I could’ve predicted that I would feel this light as I age. But with hindsight on my side, I can see what undoubtedly contributed to this sense of clarity:
And to myself. A connection I didn’t always nurture; didn’t always protect.
Painting is the gateway into my soul; my connection to myself. It’s become less of an escape and more a way of life. The day I stopped saying “later” and made painting a more significant part of who I am is a day I will forever be grateful for, as it deepened my connection -- and devotion -- to myself.
A huge part of that has been connecting to my artistic roots.
It started with a phenomenal high school art teacher who endlessly encouraged us to push past our limitations.
It continued on and off throughout my college years, though never getting the full attention it deserved.
And despite the hiatus I put my art on, my artistic roots deepened their connections when I began taking classes at the Pat Rini Rohrer Gallery in Canandaigua 20 years ago now.
Not only has Pat’s instruction, advice, and amazing ability to bring phenomenal people together had an incredible impact on me -- it was through Pat that I met and found artistic mentorship in Lori Putnam.
A few months ago, I sat down with a cup of coffee and my journal, reflecting on the gratitude I feel from having such strong roots as an artist, and such an amazing mentor on my side.
It led me down a rabbit hole I never wanted to come out of, discovering and exploring the connections between my mentor and the mentors before her:
Me, Cindy Harris, mentored by
Lori Putnam, mentored by
Dawn Whitelaw, mentored by
Everett Raymond Kinstler, mentored by
Frank Vincent DuMond, taught by
Four words for this: Beyond my wildest dreams.
This is an artist lineage I could not be more proud of. To think that in some energetic synergy, I’m connected to these greats who came before me isn’t just empowering; it encourages me to come out of that rabbit hole and continue to pay it forward to those who come after me.
Exploring connections throughout my world has been absolutely key to finding meaning in my past and looking forward to the celebration that is my future.
As I embark upon another birthday, I’m reminded through these connections that we’re all here to make a mark; to leave this world better than we found it.
In case you need a reminder, yourself: Your best is yet to come. Explore your connections, let go of your doubt, and take heart in creating your best work -- and life -- yet.