When I was younger, I used to dream of what my life might look like at 23.  I thought 'by then I will be married with my first child and killing it as a boss lady.  I'll be a teacher, have five dogs and Crayola markers in every existing colour'... being that I was seven.  Skip forward to today, writing this the day before my 24th birthday,  I can say with absolute certainty that 23 was everything I hoped for and nothing I expected.   

No, I'm not married, nor do I have any human children though I like to believe my dog counts as a fur baby.  I may not be a teacher but I do get to use my organization skills and life lessons in a creative way, which is more my style anyways.  I've had set backs, serene moments, let-downs, high peaks, pit falls, and problems but ultimately if I were to sum up everything I've discovered in the 23 times I've circled the sun, it is that life is art.  

Everything you do - every moment of clouded judgement, every face that imprints itself to your soul, every single break through,  every cup of coffee, every rising sun, every quiet rainy day, every loud busy city; it's all a part of the painted perfection encompassing your life.   For every second that ticks by, from the words you hear to the sights you see,  it all adds another layer to the fabric of your existence enlacing itself in rich flavours and textures.  The story never truly ends nor can it be predicted.  There are times your canvas will be splattered and scratched with darkness and weight only to then lift it's brush to the next blank space adding light and colour.  It will contrast with every lesson learned and memory made.  There are no wrong turns just like there are no end goals, it's all intertwined and connected adding more detail to the story and skill to the painter.  Everything you have every done, everything you have yet to do, everything you touch - it's art.  It's painting another piece of your canvas, a canvas stretched so long you have a lifetime to fill it.  Adding colours of pink, yellow, blue and black over the days and years seamed together by a timeless thread tying your story and your soul to a larger quilt in the existence of life.  With each breath, you add textures and patterns marking chapters and memories like polaroids to sift through your mind as the years go by.  There are life-altering memories yet to be painted, there are souls yet to add their colours to your work of art, but with each stroke your life grows richer, your piece grows stronger.  

There is no right or wrong way to paint,  but promise me you will never stop painting.  Strive for your perfect piece - envision it, pick the colours you want your life to look like and the patterns you wish to see and set out to create it knowing that perfection isn't the way it will look but rather the way creating your art feels.  It's the way you take your coffee, the laughs you have with the people you love, the slowly changing routines that make up your mornings and nights, the view from every window you've ever called home, the coordinations on earth your heart has beat, the colour of clothes you wear, the pages in the books you read, the ripples of energy you make in this world.  Let it be the unattainable drive that forces you to keep sketching, keep writing, keep brushing the drips of colours and spraying the mists of paint so that every morning you wake up, you can't wait to see what colour today is. 

So, with this chapter of my life ending, and a new one yet to begin - my canvas isn't at all what I expected but it's more than anything I could have hoped or dreamed.  There are still blank spaces waiting to be filled and old layers painted over with new era's of understanding and appreciation.  And as I take a step back to admire what has built the foundation of my art, all I wish is to thank whatever force is at hand for the chance to keep painting and the anticipation for another year that has yet to be imprinted.  
What might we paint next? 
- K 

Photo's By Steven Van