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Last Post of the Year: Past and Future Selves

The end of the year is finally here! Well, New Year’s Eve is actually tomorrow but I didn’t want this post to go up on a Monday. Call it a rigid over-adherence to my posting schedule. Right, because I’m just so good at sticking to schedules. I mean, it’s almost midnight, so you probably could argue that I am indeed posting this “tomorrow”. I’ll have to leave it up to future me to decide. Future me. Past me. My past and future selves are separate people. We are not the same person now that we were moments ago. Our future selves, yet to be, don’t exist yet. They have yet arrived. Even then, in the fleeting moment we actually become those future selves; they vanish into the past.

That’s what this last entry of the year is essentially about.

Without a doubt, it has been a trying year like the many before it. A long, arduous year with little respite to breathe and think ahead to what comes next. Yet, here we find ourselves in this liminal time between the years. On the precipice of a year to come. We have a moment to rest and breathe. To look ahead and consider our future selves. We think of what our past selves may have done for present us. And what can the present us do for our future selves when the time comes for them to be.

The end of the year

The days ahead may wear a different mask from those past, but they still come only one at a time.

It’s a common practice around New Year’s to come up with resolutions. Goals to accomplish. Changes we’d like to see in ourselves. These resolutions are like dreams. As we get further and further into the next year, these resolutions may fade away. Just as dreams may fade, the further and further you get into the waking day. But even if they fade, like dreams, these resolutions can leave lasting impressions. They can set the tone or pace for the year, subtly guiding our future selves. However, just as not everyone dreams at night, not everyone makes new year’s resolutions.

Some folks simply leap headlong into the future, accepting the present as it arrives. This is the type of person that I try to be. Sometimes, I can’t help but see how broken the world has become in past years and Despair the coming future. It takes away any desire I might have to plan ahead. I envy those opposite me, who see a broken world and carry blind Hope into the future with them. One day at a time, they look forward to a better future in spite of the difficult past.

Fortunately, most of the stories I’ve come across online recently have been about various successes others have had in 2018. Many folks are talking about how they hope to carry the momentum of those successes into the 2019 year. I can’t help be feel a bit envious because I don’t necessarily have that kind of momentum going for myself. If I’m to achieve my own victories in the coming year, I’ll have to help future me out a little.

Last Art Post of the Year

Present and Future Me can’t keep up with modern “standards”

Towards the end of October, I queued up a series of art posts to go up throughout November and December. These posts consisted of a wide variety of works. From older works of years past, to more recent illustrations as new as this year. I put these posts up without too much rhyme or reason. The goal here was to set up a steady stream of content for the site. I’m grateful for the fact that past me used artwork that was already finished. This meant that I didn’t have to create a bunch of brand new art. However, these posts still took quite a bit of time to actually write out. In fact, this post was actually only partially written when I first queued it up. Now that I’m here finishing it up, I can see that my queue is starting to catch up with me.

Social media today has created this toxic standard where you either post content consistently or get buried alive by algorithms. On the internet of today, going at your own pace is social media suicide. While it was nice to post consistently for awhile, I shouldn’t have given in to such a demanding standard. It’s not a pace I naturally work at and I’ll only get burnt out from trying to stick to it. This isn’t a social media site. I can do as I please here. That said, I have a only have few more posts queued up until the end of January. After that, future me is on their own.

Hopefully they and I will have figured something out by then.

Jake Fox; Young and Old - A look at our past and future selves through Mage Punk:

Description: A far shot of a pencil drawing on yellow paper with red and green watercolor accents. Young Jake (11) stands next to his adult self (30+), surrounded by mist.

I had a bit of time dropped on my lap one day

And not enough self-control on buying art supplies

A few weeks ago, we had our annual holiday meeting at the Blick Store that I work at. Unfortunately, I’m cursed with having a long commute to work. As such, I had a huge chunk of time to kill between the end of my shift and the meeting. Before the end of my shift, I bought a few of these Canson Mi-Teintes papers that Blick carries. Until that day, I’d managed to avoid succumbing to the desire to buy them. Not that they’re expensive or anything. In fact, they’re quite affordable per sheet. But I was trying to exercise some level of impulse control.

Anyway, this drawing was done using graphite and white colored pencil on these toned papers. At the end I added a little extra color using some light watercolor to help it pop.

My main inspirations were classical anatomy studies and the cover art on some of the toned paper pads we carry. For the sake of keeping it simple, I decided I wanted this to be a pencil drawing from the beginning. I jumped into it without any planning whatsoever. No preliminary drawing. Not even thumbnail. I simply started with a light sketch and then layered up my values and line weights as I went along. Erasing and cleaning it up as I went along. Finally at the end is when I added a touch watercolor and white colored pencil.

Jake Fox; Young and Old

A look at our past and future selves through Mage Punk

Jake Fox has a very special relationship with time and with himself throughout time. He’s a natural born musician with perfect pitch. As a child, he befriends a Time Mage and helps her thwart a potential time catastrophe. He meets the Time Keeper and casually calls them “gramps”. His past and future selves “accidentally” meet face-to-face. Several times. Jake’s friends don’t understand how he isn’t time mage himself. They say things might be different, had the stars aligned ever so slightly different on the day he was born. Jake says there’s no use dwelling on things that aren’t. Life is all about being present, just like a Flame.

Jake’s simple nature might be one of his greatest strengths. If he’s just in a standing position, I always give him a basic “pawn” shape in the beginning. Here, I tried to keep close to that pawn-like shape. Aside from using a simpler medium, my focus was on highlighting the subtler difference between Jake’s past and future selves. Looking over from past to future Jake, you see the changes in his appearance over time. His hair falls differently. His face is less round. He gets bulkier. His head is the same size but he got a little taller, at least. Both of these characters may be Jake in essence, but they are not both the same person.

That special relationship we each have with our past, present, and future selves through time.

Past, present, and future me are not the same person. They and I are entirely different people, every moment that passes. We work together constantly to keep things running as smoothly and easily as possible. Communication between us is limited, but we make it work. I’m always thanking or cursing past me for some decisions they’ve made. “That’s a problem for future me” “Damn it, Past Me!” The key is collaboration and consistency. If I can depend on myself to be consistent, I can trust decisions made by my past and future selves.

And by the way, there are actually 2 future selves

There’s the Actual Near Future You; and then there’s the Imagined Far Future You that you make up for yourself. You hope for Imagined Far Future You; but really get Actual Near Future You. Actual Near Future You is never around very long as they quickly become Past You. You can probably veer Actual Near Future You in a more favorable direction. But you can never guess if Imagined Far Future You is even actually going to exist. They surely don’t know. Often times, that Imagined Far Future You is the result of forgetting the work Present You needs to do now. So long as we do the work that’s needed, that Far Future You can be more than Imagined. This is how our Future Selves are like New Year’s Resolutions.

Our future selves are still in the drafting stage

We have to work towards them, little by little

Past, present, and future me are not the same person. Yet, we occur together, all at once. In memory and in forethought. In being and existing in the present. Buried deep away in the uncertainty of present events, is a future self I wish to be. I just have to be patient on chipping away towards that future. Dubious and irrelevant standards may compel me to hurry towards the future me that I desire to be. But it’s important that I keep my own pace in pursuit of my dreams and resolutions.

I really like this WIP photo because it almost perfectly encompasses the state of our past, present, and future selves. There’s almost this flux to the drawing. Young Jake is complete and solid. Yet, by virtue of being a memory captured in drawing, this will always be a past version of him. Future Jake however, isn’t complete yet. He’s almost there. But at this particular point in the drawing, Future Jake is still very much an idea in need of realization. Looking back, I wonder if I should’ve just stopped there.

Welp. No point in dwelling on it now.

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