Art & Writing Can Help Us When We Do NOT Get What We Paid For


Carousel Ride – Digital Montage by Jacki Kellum

We have all heard the expression, “You get what you pay for,” but I can attest to the fact that sometimes we don’t get what we paid for–sometimes bad things happen to us, regardless of whether we deserve it or not. Both my mother and I are among the throngs of people who often were not dealt a fair hand. I have discovered that my art and my writing have helped me to recover from some of the blows that I have been dealt:

Life Is Cyclical

Because life is cyclical–because it ebbs and flows–because it bobs up and down–it can be a huge shock–a catastrophic disapointment for the linear people–the people who felt that they could work hard when younger, feeling that they had controlled the outcome or the results that they would reap, once they had gotten older.

[News Flash–People do not always reap what they sow!]

“In linear thinking, adult life is viewed as an orderly development following universal principles and rules.
Life is lived for future goals and results and is driven by perfectionism and social constraints.”
Hudson, The Art of Self Renewal

The Linear path is established when people do a, b, and c when younger, expecting a predictable–even certain–outcome in adulthood.  The plan is: work hard, make the right friends, get the correct education, establish the necessary connections––and the result will surely be that of comfort [even wealth] and security when older.

While that does sound like a good plan, it does not account for the onslaught of life’s Equalizers–setbacks like cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s–even mere Divorce.  The Linear People who are never derailed by life’s disappointment probably do fine; but the rest of us need to find a new way to embrace life–even when it foils us.

The Cyclical viewpoint sees life as more of  a Carousel, a ride which has Ups and Downs–Highs and Lows–Successes and Failures–ever-changing–requiring an ever-renewing.

The people who view life cyclically embrace the reality that there is no preparation for some of the blows that might eventually bowl them over.  They develop ways to help them renew–to refresh from the pits along the path.

For me, art & writing are my antidotes.  The DOING of art [which includes writing]–the process of making art–is what helps me to bob back to the surface–even after the waves of living have managed to pull me down.

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.” – James Oppenheim

Even Dr. Seuss felt the ups and downs of life:


2 thoughts on “Art & Writing Can Help Us When We Do NOT Get What We Paid For

  1. I agree, life is not linear. There used to be the notion of the company man who worked for many years with the same firm and was rewarded and promoted in regular ways in the course of time. That image no longer holds. Of course, one problem with the company man is that there was no company woman. So maybe on a good day linear living deserves to be challenged. I agree, too, writing (for me) helps me work through the blows that come with hard times. Art can be as comforting as it can be inspiring. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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