Striving to Make 2021 the Best Year of My Life

2020 was the worst year of my life, but like an archer’s bow being drawn back I’m only here to be propelled forward. I know I can make 2021 the best year of my life. Unless you’re tied up in a basement taken hostage, you can too. It all starts with our attitude. Changing my attitude near the end of 2020 has made me come through this all with a whole new attitude. Instead of a world falling apart I see a world changing and evolving. My outlook on this new year is basically to improve my state of mind and in return my actions will create a better world around me.

Five things I’m doing to make 2021 the best year of my life:

  1. Going back to the gym twice a week
  2. Buying a small dog
  3. Talking to family more often
  4. Eating better
  5. Doing more chores around the house to live in a cleaner environment
peace within

Finding Peace with Myself

Over the past week while I’ve been social distancing and painting a lot at home, I’ve really been able to reach a level of inner peace that I want to share with you all today.

I believe there are unlimited ways for every individual to find inner peace. For instance, a serial killer finds inner peace in a much different way than a plumber or an appliance repair technician. If you’re a baseball lover then throwing the ball in the park might be your source for inner peace. On the other hand, if you despise sports then reading a good book in the shade might be your thing. Either way, the only thing holding us back from finding peace within is ourselves and what we choose to do each day.

I also believe that no matter how chaotic and action-packed the experience outside of our body is–say for example you’re in a thunder storm–we can still find inner peace. The peace within ourselves is separate from the events outside of ourselves and people who’ve mastered inner peace rise to the challenge, being stress-free and calm even during moments when others would panic. A big part of this though is being honest with ourselves.

I want you to think about what gives you inner peace, and I recommend, if you can find it, to do that thing as much as you can because in this age of economic crisis and virus pandemics inner peace makes the greatest difference.

back to hamilton painting

Gray Decay’s Newest Painting: “Back to Hamilton Ontario”

I call this painting “Back to Hamilton Ontario” because it’s the exact same style of painting I used to do during a certain episode in my life. Consider this blog post the painting’s description, and there’s a long story behind it which makes it mean a lot to me. Now back to the this certain episode. It was only a six month episode of my life when I was eleven-years-old. I lived in the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada with a friend of my parents because they were, for a reason I still don’t understand, flying around the country.

My parents’ friend’s name was Larry and he just watched sports on TV all day. He was really nice though, and gave me permission to use all of his deceased grandma’s painting supplies because there was nothing else for me to do there. As an eleven-year-old boy painting from old paints that hadn’t been opened in decades was exhilarating. I remember feeling like I had stepped into a fantasy land. I didn’t know how to paint well back then though, at least not as well as I do now.

But this painting I call “Back to Hamilton Ontario” is purely imitating the work I was able to do back then when I was eleven. It’s even painted on a piece of square cardboard the same size as the originals. Unfortunately I don’t have any of the originals surviving, because they were lost years ago while moving. That’s mainly why I painted this, because I miss those originals. Every time I look at this painting I’m reminded of so much!

That six month episode of my life is full of colorful and vivid memories, all of them exploring a new city in Canada. I remember so much! I thought it would be best to put it all in a list. So here is that list:

My Memories of Hamilton Ontario when I was Eleven-Years-Old

my “back to hamilton ontario” painting
  1. Arriving at the Hamilton airport with my parents.
  2. Driving down streets I’ve never seen before.
  3. Seeing a red mailbox with a lady walking a dog.
  4. Reaching Larry’s house for the first time.
  5. Petting Larry’s cat.
  6. Watching the dryer get repaired.
  7. Seeing all the cool parts inside of the drying machine.
  8. Wondering if I should become an appliance repair man when I grow up.
  9. Eating at a 50s style diner.
  10. Seeing clowns at the neighbor’s birthday party.
  11. Getting ice cream with Larry.
  12. And last but not least, painting many colorful abstract pieces of art on cardboard that Larry cut into squares for me.

More memories come to mind the longer I stare at this painting. The strange thing is I’ve never been to Hamilton after that experience but having this painting now makes me feel like I live in that city again or at least have been there for long enough to know it like the back of my hand. I remember walking to the ice cream shop with Larry and seeing all the buses. It was a rather non eventful point in my life, except for the fact that the paintings I did and the memories around them have changed my life forever.

Make of this painting whatever you want. It’s only special for me because of my childhood memories. Everyone will see something different when they look at it and that’s what I love about abstract art, even if it’s rushed or amateur. Often I think amateur abstract art is some of the prettiest but I’ve been painting for man years. I’m in the middle between an amateur and a professional, I would say, but I was pretending to be amateur when I did this so it would look similar to the ones I did when I was eleven in Hamilton. Now let me tell you about my most vivid memory of all.

My Most Vivid Memory: The Dryer Repair Event

The only faces I remember besides that of Larry’s and his neighbors’ is that of the appliance repair man’s. When he let me look inside of the gutted drying machine I was amazed, and I truly do remember wondering if I should follow the same career as him when I grew up. He was a really cool man, or at least I thought so when I was eleven. He showed me all his tools and I remember being amazed by how heavy some of them were. I’m glad I never grew up to repair appliances for a living and every new painting I make now reminds me of that as I have this one hanging on my wall above my work station. Then again, though, it wouldn’t be that bad to work in Hamilton for a living. I could work for Appliance Repair Hamilton Ontario or something, and fix ovens instead of paint all day. From my memory I bet that old repair man really had a great life there, but I’m happy here painting. It’s amazing what the imagination can conjure when rambling too much. Now you should already know why this painting is so important to me. It brings so many thoughts to my head. I could talk about it forever, but, for your sake, I won’t! But by far that memory of seeing the dryer repaired is the most vivid. I almost want to say I know how to fix a dryer now, but I probably don’t… I hope you got a laugh out of that because I did.


If you want to see more of my paintings in the future, check up on my covid-19 isolation blogging adventure because I have a lot of time to paint! Hit me up with what you’ve been painting while in isolation and I’ll consider sharing it on my blog!

more time to paint

More Time to Paint, A Service to Myself

I’ve been finding a lot more free time lately. The world is isolating due to a corona virus and I’m quite fine staying inside painting my heart out on the canvas. None of my newest paintings are closed to finished yet. I feel rusty compared to when I used to paint this frequently many years back. But I’m getting my subconscious thoughts, that have until now been hidden from me, onto the something readable with use of colors and emotional brushstrokes. It feels great!

More time to paint to me means it’s time to do myself a service. By staying isolated I’m already doing the world a service but I still have the chance to come out of this with something new and exciting at a personal and selfish level. My service to myself is creating paintings that I can be proud of for the rest of my life, paintings that I would never sell because I wrote them at a time in my life when I was transforming due to my COVID-19 isolation. I’m proud of myself for making it this far without going insane, and look forward to what I can accomplish alone throughout the upcoming weeks.

I have no symptoms except for upset throat and lungs. It’s pretty minor but still enough to put me in the boat of self-monitoring. I have just recently quit vaping nicotine and smoked more tobacco than usual so I think that’s it but better play this safe. I’m now having all the time I need to paint whatever I want because I’ll be alone until at least my mild symptoms have been gone for over fourteen days, and I’ll be smoking something else a bit healthier instead. This old habit came back to me when I never thought it would. I want to play it as safe as I can with how much food I have stored.

If you’re in a similar boat as me then consider us doing this together!