I have a hard time stopping and celebrating the good things that have just passed. I'm not talking about birthdays or special occasions. I'm talking about celebrating those milestone moments in personal achievements. To put it plainly, I suck at celebrating.
Part of this, I think, is due to working in environments where deadlines were fast and furious, within organizations that were always striving to take more ground. That’s not a critique of those organizations, rather just a by-product sometimes. Do that for a number of years, and you get programmed to just keep your eye to the horizon.
As a culture, we gather around us ideas of “never looking back” or “the past is behind us. What’s done is done.” The problem I have with that idea is that when you don’t celebrate your wins, it’s easy to lose sight of how far you’ve come, and what you have accomplished.
Someone sent me an email the other day asking about highlights from 2016. It took me a long while to think about how to answer. I knew I had “done stuff”, I just couldn’t really remember anything specific. I had to go back to my calendar, and think long and hard. Finally, I started to remember, and I felt a reason to celebrate rising in me.
Now, I hesitate to share these things, as I don’t want to appear boastful. Hopefully, you know me enough, or can understand my heart from this post, to know that’s not my purpose. I just have the feeling I’ll need this reminder, when things seem slow, and opportunity scarce, that good things have happened, and will happen again. So would you allow me the indulgence, and even join in my celebration?
Here’s a few 2016 highlights:
- I was a vendor at many Artist Alley’s this year, including Walker Stalker and Heroes and Villains events. While a lot of these shows weren’t very financially successful for me, they did provide some moments to celebrate like getting to meet & interact with a few celebrities (& even give them my art!)
- Having my art chosen to be on Talking Dead with Chris Hardwick, as the fan art of the week!
- Getting hired to create art by Kweku Mandela (Nelson Mandela's Grandson) who is an activist involved in Global Citizen events. He had me create art for five of the headlining acts - Kendrick Lamar, Major Lazer, Rihanna, Demi Lovato, and Metallica. He personally handed my art to each artist the day of the event. And I even got to be his special guest at an invitation only event prior to the main event. I blogged about it here.
- Creating art of "Chewbacca Mom" (AKA Candace Payne) on Instagram, then 24 hours into all the viral video stuff, having her call me to ask if she could use it for free stickers at a Dallas ComicCon. How does that even happen?
- I launched my very first online teaching course “Your Artists’ Journey”
- And of course, in a last minute effort, submitted my video for The Abundant Artist scholarship and won. And I never win anything!
In August, I was let go from my full-time position due to financial reasons. I decided it was time to go all in on my own art career. And while I’m still in startup mode, working towards financial stability, I’m thankful for the many of you who have commissioned me to create art and/or bought prints and paintings, especially during this holiday season. I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way this year at various events, shows, conferences, and online communities. I'm thankful for you all!
I hope 2017 is filled with many more moments to celebrate wonderful opportunities like these (and more!). Thanks so much for being a part of my journey!
What are some highlights from your 2016? I’d love to know! Leave me a comment and let’s keep the celebration going.