A Different Look Changes Everything

When I was about 10, my parents enrolled me in a Saturday morning art class. Fortunately, I also wanted to be signed up.

I wasn’t a particularly skilled artist. Aside from the charity comment “good job, what is it,” art was just something I enjoyed creating.

I remember when my mother came to pick me up after class on a chilly and snowy October, she saw my Halloween themed masterpiece. Interspersed with the usual supportive comments, she asked why the witch’s hat was not sitting on the witch’s head, who was straddling a fast-flying broomstick. I explained that the wind had just blown it off, so the art was an action snapshot dramatically known as an artistic moment.

Well, that brought out even more positive comments, especially addressing my creative and adventuresome approach. Ah, now my mother understood me as an artist!

Little did she know that my artistic spirit was a cover-up for a newbie artist’s mistake. Just like two mountain train tunnellers approaching the centre of the mountain deep underground – and missing each other, I had painted the black cone witch’s hat first. I was bored and so started painting the broomstick next.

Yup, the hat didn’t meet the head. Water paint on black construction paper is not very forgiving. The class was coming to an end, so I just developed a different look, and that changed everything.

What could have been a sad, distressed, failure of an artist on a Saturday afternoon became an event worthy of a small celebration. So much better – for everyone concerned, especially for the psyche of the fragile artist.

This life lesson and I don’t mean the art lesson, still helps me obtain a serenity in my life that has helped me through potentially disrupting turmoil. Older adults and seniors will have and do have life events that they have had little experience handling. It helps to stop, take a deep breath, and check if you are looking at the moment from a helpful perspective.

Looking at things differently is a skill you can learn. It comes more easily to some than others. Rarely is only one perspective, the only perspective. You could look at all those clothes in the closet you hope to wear someday, or at least are now filled with memories, as hard to part with. A different look could be that those clothes had a good time with you. It was now time for those clothes to bring happiness and memories to other people – perhaps to help them through tough times.

It’s a head game, for sure. The slight of mind is right in front of you. But it can help to bring a peaceful resolution to your first world problems.

Next time you find yourself stressing about something, such as a friend arriving late for a catch-up coffee, take a different view. Use that time to reflect on your good fortune to have a friend in your life who you know deep, down inside, really loves you.

My thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.

Glenn Walmsley