Nostalgia: a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
How is it that in the same moment we can be impatient for the future, while nostalgic for the past?
I'm nostalgic tonight for... a former gallery space that I loved, because it had great light, and we had some wonderful parties, and it was mine. All mine. I forget in the moment I am nostalgic that I left, because it wasn't in a great location, and I couldn't really afford the rent, and it was poorly heated in the winter.
I'm nostalgic for... a place where I used to live, because it was beautiful countryside, and the town where I went to college (about which I can also grow nostalgic,) and I had lovely friends there. I forget about how small it felt to me after my divorce, and the ghosts of old mistakes that haunted me, and my growing uncomfortableness about living in a town that glorified a seriously bloody three day battle for the sake of its livelihood, where I was told I could not sell a painting unless it contained cannons.
I'm nostalgic for... past relationships with boyfriends. I won't go into detail because I don't want to embarrass any of them, or even worse, myself, for admitting my own mistakes that led to their demise.
My point? Nostalgia can feel lovely... but it can also set us up for a sense of loss that isn't necessarily the total truth. It comes down to what we choose to remember, or where we put our focus.
So why the cow painting? Because it is a scene from that town where I lived. And I miss the pastures and the cows. Because it sold while I owned the gallery I miss, to an Irish woman who had absolutely zero concern about it not having any cannons in it. Because I remember the cow barn at college, and how the young cows would suckle your finger when offered. And the people there with me, most of whom I don't remember their names. Except for one, who used to visit me there. He knows who he is.
The cow barns were over 40 years ago. At that time, I had no idea where life would lead me.
Today, this day, holds things for which one day I will look back with nostalgia, missing them. The room I sit in. The people in my life. The paintings I will create this month, still blank canvases.
ALL good reasons to be ever present minded. Enjoy the moments, as one very dear friend says. Because this moment, right now, right.... NOW. This is the real stuff. This IS my #artistsreallife.
Or as Carly sang, THESE ARE the good old days. (Click here to listen: Anticipation)