As I welcome another year of life and learning, I’m reframing my definition of milestones from a focus on achievements and events to the journey between each phase of life. Ditching my arbitrary yardstick that measured milestones is freeing and allows my personal passions to grow. It was my belief in the power of art and healing through creative expression that led me to graduate school in art therapy, which I recently completed.
On that journey, I gained greater empathy and compassion and experienced life events, not as milestones to be counted, but as personal growth and fulfillment. My curiosities were satiated; I felt challenged and alive. Although I have finished the graduate degree, there is so much more I want to learn and experience.
My love for learning and appreciation for the subjective perception and understanding of a person’s world or worldview strongly connects to my fifteen-year career as a Woodson Art Museum educator. During graduate studies, I developed a deeper understanding of how creating and viewing artworks teach us about acceptance, mindfulness, and empathy.
Art museums offer collections of human expressions. Artworks make us feel. Being mindful of what we feel when viewing art can translate into conversations that allow acceptance of other views, a necessary element of empathy.
Empathy and gratitude have been a great part of my journey and I’m thankful for family, friends, and colleagues who supported my art therapy pursuit. The random notes, flowers, and hugs as well as the interest in what I was learning were so important. I cherish each exchange and shared moment. No one can foresee the future, but we can decide what we hold dear. These memories will last a lifetime.