When I was a kid, there were all sorts of things I wanted to be. I didn’t want to be the actual people… I just wanted their abilities.
I wanted to play baseball like Davey Concepcion.
I wanted to be as smart as Albert Einstein.
I wanted to sing like Maria Von Trapp in the Sound of Music. She looked a lot like Mary Poppins, and I wanted to sing just like her too. The other…. was Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.
I wanted to play tennis like Billie King; swim like Mark Spitz; be funny like Lucille Ball…..
and I wanted to draw like Norman Rockwell.
Of course… none of these “Want To Be’s” came true. We can’t all be kings. But such is life. There are a very few talented people in the world of this class and style. However… these people took their talents, and mixed them with a good dose of work, determination, and discipline.
Tonight we went out with a couple of good friends to the Dayton Art Institute to see “American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell.”
I was enthralled with the exhibit… with seeing his work displayed in this manner. It brought back so many memories.
We had a big Coffee-Table-Book of Norman Rockwell paintings… on …. of all places…. our living room coffee table. I would sometimes step on it by accident when I was up on top of that table. Yes, those times when I’d be singing to the Funny Girl album…. dancing around… with my pretend microphone… in front to the big mirror above the mantle.
But the times I remember most with that book, is when I would pull it from its place on that make-believe stage…
I would grab a stack of looseleaf paper and a few good pencils with erasers. Then I would sit on the floor, with that book, for hours on end…. trying to draw like Norman Rockwell. No matter how hard I tried, how slowly and deliberately I made the lines on my paper… it never once looked like a Rockwell. Ever.
He was an amazing artist… producing more than 4,000 original works in his lifetime. Amazing paintings, and illustrations. He is best known for his covers on the Saturday Evening Post…. although his talent goes far and wide. What a delight for me to see this exhibit. What a privilege.
But there is a lesson in there for me.
We can’t wish to be like others. As much as I’d like to sing like Barbra Streisand, or hypothesize like Einstein…. or swim like a fish…. it is out of my realm. Those people are unique. We are all unique.
I think the best thing I can do….. is to be me. Just me and nobody else but me.
And…. to be grateful for the abilities I DO possess. Thereafter, spending my days working on those talents with determination, spirit, and courage.
…. …. …But boy oh boy… that Leonardo da Vinci sure could paint…. I wonder if I could paint like that guy…..
Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. – Judy Garland
A well spent day, brings happy sleep. – Leonardo Da Vinci