Life is like a third graders art project – it’s beautiful in a messy, chaotic sort of way.
I don’t know about you, but my life is an ever-changing, constantly rearranging mix of things. Of people. Of memories. Of knowledge. Of ideas. Of opinions. Of desires, feelings, and needs. My life tends to tip towards chaos every so often–not always, but often enough that I have a rough list of disaster relief-inspired techniques at the ready for when it does. I blame it on my tendency to overcommit, the adrenaline rush of enticing ideas and starting projects, and my general inclination towards newness. If life were an ice cream store, I’d want to sample every flavor and then still pick 3 (which is, unsurprisingly, often what happens).
Yesterday, I made my mom a collage for her birthday. I wanted to give her something silly, something unexpected, something to reflect the realities of life. This past year her world seems to keep filling with an odd array of incompatible happenings – joy, hardship, restructuring, rebuilding, gaining, letting go, and the unavoidable experience of growing older. It got me thinking about the hodgepodge of life. How a collage might be the most accurate way to represent life.
When I think about using art as a way to capture life, I don’t see that happening through a photograph. A photograph is limited to a single frame. And even the widest of lenses doesn’t seem capable of capturing the breadth of things my life includes at any moment in time. Forget still life or realism or cubism. I need clashing patterns, rough edges, half hidden meaning, and a bit of inexplicable nonsense.
Which is why we must accept and embrace the fact that the pieces don’t fit together nicely; that we will have to make a decision with only 3/10ths of the wisdom we might like. We must embrace the rough edges, the unfinishedness of everything. “Finished” is a judgment call, an arbitrary line, and quite frankly a state we shouldn’t be in a hurry to get to.
My life will never be finished, and that’s beautiful.