As I continue packing for the move this week, I came across this box of priceless treasure. This wonderful treasure box contains photos, cards, notes, movie tickets and bunch of other precious memories in physical form. These are the things my wife Betty and I shared for the past 15+ years. We been knowing each other since we were 20, and we started to date after about 2 years of being friend. Now we are happily married for 8+ years. Time is an interesting unit. If you look back 15 years, you will feel it went by so fast like blink of an eye. But if you look ahead 15 years, it can be intimidating and out of reach! However, no matter how you look at it, 15 years is still 15 years! It seem like yesterday when Betty and I just get antiquated, but the memories we shared over the past 15 years are way more than this box can hold.
We weren't a happy couple who has everything figured out in the beginning. Our relationship were off a bumpy start to say the least. I won't go into detail of our relationship history, but I can tell you that in the first 2 years of our relationship, Betty wanted to broke up with me around 6 times. I blame largely on my immaturity, but the point is that it took years of work and quite a few painful experience for our relationship to work. That also doesn't mean everything is smooth sailing today. We still get into conflict and disagreement from time to time. The difference is we now know how to work things out for the benefit of each other! This brings to the point:
If you treat a skill set as serious as a long term relationship,
you will be successful!
If I gave up my relationship with Betty during the early unstable stage, I am sure I will not see my beautiful family today when I open my eyes! This will be the same with my watercolor painting. I start painting with watercolor about 2 years ago, and I can already see my own improvement! Imagine if I establish a long term relationship with it for 15 years? I become exciting just to think about the possibility! However, the crucial part of this is the time and the commitment that I need to invest in. I often have younger friends who said to me "I envy you having such a good marriage and lovely family. I want that too!". I always tempted to reply them "Thanks, but do you know what it takes?" People often see me enjoying the fruit of my life, but they didn't see the planning, nurturing, weed cutting, getting rid of bugs...etc. It is the same for the art. We often see the beautiful paintings produced by the masters with ease, seeing them selling those paintings at good price, and filled their workshop with students. But many neglect the years of hard work and struggle they been through. And just like my relationship with Betty, the struggle years was often the early stage of their career.
We have to understand those years of struggle are as real as the years of harvesting and celebration. We live in the world today where people love to display their achievement and showing off their new possessions. This worldview can be very skewed, because it leads people to see them as the most important part of the process. But...
Success and achievement are the by-products of hard work and commitment!
It's good to set goals, and I believe everyone should set a long term goal. After all, I've seen people who had a relationship for 10+ years and just evaporated into nothing. Without a long term goal, the relationship is meaningless(I will go over that next week). But there is no doubt that time investment is the core of a successful relationship/skill development! Do you want to get good at painting or any other skill set? Do you want to be successful in what you do? Do you want to be able to look back years from now with satisfaction, knowing that you've made it? If you do, be prepare to establish a meaningful long term relationship.