Looking back on my old notes from July 2020 about my artistic ambitions, I can't help but smile. It’s like a splurge of hopeful ideas and goals, with lots of unrealistic gaps between reality and those ambitions.
One note simply states I want to have a small show in a cafe in Amsterdam, another reads "PIG FESTIVAL STYLE" in prominent all-caps - no recollection of why that seemed so important at the time, or indeed what the pig festival or pig festival 'style' is! This jumble of lofty notions is understandable given the uncertainty of 2020; visiting a cafe in Amsterdam likely felt like a distant fantasy.
In some ways, all aspirations start with something that presently seems out of reach, the biggest goals perhaps verging on nonsense. You fumble with words and ideas that might, just maybe, spur the change to make those dreams possible.
I’ve gotten better at seeking advice from mentors, rather than thinking profound ideas will magically come through lone contemplation. Talking to veterans with broad mentoring experience, or professionals making real-world decisions, has informed my perspective. Mentorship reminds me what I already know but forgot, challenges my current approach, and provides useful insight. I should have these sessions more often.
I've also mentored aspiring artists for free or for pay. Sharing hard-won knowledge without gate-keeping rewards me and the mentee alike.
It’s been illuminating to see how much my outlook has changed in a relatively short time, the notes are a funny time machine, I remember feeling like that, because the notes aren't public they are written in a blunt way, I can clearly feel the anxiousness.
Ideas once written, even somewhat bluntly but passionately may later seem silly. But that idea is like something that can be shaped and grown - those somewhat silly notes encourages me to actually try and think bigger. I guess my 2020 notes are the terrible rough 'first draft', for something positive, useful and optimistic.
I'd been thinking recently about how much personal change is really possible, occasionally feeling like I make the same mistakes over and over again. But actually having this document of another time, proves to me that actually a lot can change, it's just you might not be consciously aware which bits are changing, and some things change for you and some things change by you.
I heard someone advise expanding your "surface area" to catch more lucky breaks when they arise. I'm wondering what actions would help that this year.
So today, in scribing some future ambitions, I’m determined to:
Give more context around my goals (a bigger "why")
Be more stupidly ambitious (more "why not")
Map out details between now and those visions (more "how")
Who knows? Maybe next year we'll all meet up at Pig Festival!