Fannie Hurst. Pencil on paper. © 2012 Salvador Castío.
Well, here we are again – the end of another year. This time of year has always resonated well with me; the chill in the air brings hope, new beginnings, and new ideas. My new year will begin full of optimism because I have chosen for it to begin that way. My wife, Allyce, often says to me that we choose (for the most part) whether we’re happy or not. When she first said that to me, I thought, “That’s nice, but I think there’s more to it than that.” I’ve learned that it is exactly what she says it is, a choice that we make. In fact, because of this, I’ve realized that making a choice applies to practically everything in our life. So often, we hold ourselves back from doing things that we want because we’ve decided that those things are unreachable. WE HAVE DECIDED that of our own free will. I’m no different from anyone else when it comes to this, except that I have finally reached a point within myself where enough is enough. I no longer want to wait for things to change or happen in my life; I no longer want to waste my precious time. I didn’t feel like this until I realized that I didn’t have time to waste. People often say, “Life is short;” they say it so much that, unfortunately, it’s become a cliché. Nothing will ever matter to you until it becomes something personal, otherwise it won’t mean a damn thing to you.
I realize that a lot of people will probably read this and forget about it in the blink of an eye – that’s our modus operandi in this technological day and age, and it’s okay. If I’m able to reach just one person with this post then it’ll have been completely worth it. Today, it’s easier to be cynical than to be optimistic; we adopt this attitude, and then we blame other people when we are not happy in our own life. It’s easier to find a scapegoat than to take a hard, honest look at ourselves. As I write these words, I can’t help but think of my dear friend, Hector. A decade ago, Hector decided to make a real change in his life; he had battled weight issues for most of his life, and had come to a point where enough was enough. Over the last ten years, Hector has not only lost weight, but he’s also completely changed his life. In that time, Hector has become an open water swimmer; within the last ten years, he has participated in a yearly event where he swims two miles from Alcatraz Island to the shore of San Francisco Bay. More importantly, he is happy and optimistic. Some years ago, I asked him what it was that had made him change, and he said, “One day I stood in front of a mirror and asked myself if this was what I really wanted for myself? I thought about my future, and I knew that I didn’t want it to be filled with health issues. That’s why I changed.” I’ve never forgotten those words. When he first said it to me, it went in one ear and out the other because it didn’t have any personal meaning to me. It’s interesting to see the changes that we all go through and how things end up having meaning for us.
I am blessed to have quite a few friends that have decided to make such changes in their lives. My dear friend, Kay, decided to live on her own terms decades ago, and continues to do things her way even at 80. My friends Wendy and Deb have also decided to live life on their own terms – I can’t help but feel inspired by the actions that my fiends have taken. My decision to change began a few years ago when I, too, decided to lose weight; It was just a beginning for me. Now, I want to complete that change – I want it to come full circle. It’s going to happen because I’m making that decision, that’s why. I’ve always been of the belief that what happens in our lives is something that we control 50% or more of the time. So many of us waste our time, thinking and pondering about our life – I cannot continue doing this. Life really is short,and my time really is precious. We must all live with the decisions that we make; this is the decision that I have made for myself. I would be greatly interested in hearing your thoughts on this, my dear readers. If one of you have something that you could share in regards to this topic, I would love to hear it. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all of my friends and fans a joyous Holiday season. I wish you all the very best.
A note on the drawing that adorns this post: this drawing of Fannie Hurst is a sketchbook drawing that dates from circa 1996. I used it for this post so that you could compare it to the recent drawing of Virginia Wolfe that I used two posts ago. I’d like to think that the drawing from this post was the seed that was planted many years ago that has now come to mature fruition. I’m equally proud of both of both drawings and hope that you, my dear readers, can appreciate both efforts.