Nothing Ventured…Nothing Gained
I had dreams but I had to be practical. I majored in computer science so I could get a good paying job. I loved programming and designing computer systems, but I still longed for the day I could pursue what I really wanted to do—be an artist and author.
I always loved art. My favorite pastime was to tour museums. I would stroll through their corridors, awed by the incredible talent represented.
Photography became my hobby. I would arrange flowers, pebbles and small branches on a table next to my bedroom window and take black-and-white photos. I graduated to color film and took pictures of lakes, mountains and tree-lined paths. I would seek out objects with unusual patterns, textures, angles and lines. I would find them in tree bark and in the pattern of how lichen grew on rocks.
I also loved writing a lot as a child, mainly about my daily angst. I had sheets of written material tucked away in drawers and shoe boxes. In time, I married, had children and divorced, with my responsibilities centered on others’ needs. When I became seriously ill in 1997, my focus narrowed to staying alive, keeping my job, health benefits and my children safe and fed…
It took many years, but eventually I started to dream again.
What made you decide to finally realize your lifelong dream?
I was diagnosed with a serious illness in 1997. It took many years to get back on my feet. In 2009, the illness started coming back and by 2010 I needed to retire and look for new things to do. Although I would say becoming an artist and author is not relaxing, I am now my own master than working for Corporate America. Life seemed short and I wanted to at least go after those things I dreamed of accomplishing before it was too late.
What were the specific obstacles that you faced?
I’m not sure why I would have thought writing a book would be easy. Writing can be very difficult. Writing with your spouse has its extra issues. The book becomes a labor of love and as you near the end, you hate when you read and reread the book for the 100th time.
Becoming an artist was “easy” because I knew nothing about getting into art shows. I didn’t know if I was doing poorly or not. But as I gained experience, I learned the frustration of trying to get into specific shows and galleries.
I also learned from the business side. One needs to build a “platform,” meaning have a website and a social media presence. That can be a huge obstacle and undertaking.
What helped you get through them?
My family and friends were and still are wonderful supporters.
Were there people that tried to discourage you? Who were they and what did they say to you?
Interesting question. Maybe, but if so, I don’t remember or maybe just didn’t seem to notice. What I have focused on is how very fortunate I have been to have many family, friends and acquaintances try to help me accomplish my dreams. I value each and every one of the suggestions and the person who has taken their time to think of me.
How did you feel when you finally accomplished your lifelong dream?
My initial dream was to write a book and become an artist. I’ve done both. But I found I kept expanding the dreams to include more things.
I recently started a small clothing and accessory line, Crystal Art Outfitters, with my art. I want to expand it even further. . .to have my art in public locations. I am working on the possibility to do so. I also would like to commercially license my art. Who knows…it may happen.
As for writing, my husband and I just completed our ninth, and probably last, book together. Over the years I have been working on my own book, called Gunther and Einstein, when I can eek out some time. Maybe now I will be able to finish it.
What advice would you give to others that are contemplating finally living their dream?
First, and it’s a soundbite, ‘Just do it.’ For most people, the only thing stopping you from trying to accomplish your dream is yourself.
Second, make a plan of how to accomplish your dream.
Third, be flexible. Things rarely work out the way you plan and opportunities fall into your lap when you least expect it. Recognize and embrace them. Feel comfortable forging a new direction if you want. After all ‘dreams’ can change and evolve.
Last, but not least, enjoy the process. If you are not enjoying your time spent reaching your dream, maybe your dream needs some tweaking or replaced with something more enjoyable.
Visit Carol’s page to experience her talent.