As a current student and future educator, I firmly believe in adopting the lifestyle of a life-long learner. Each year in university has instilled in me the idea that everything and everyone has something they can teach you. To close one’s mind from embracing new perspectives, acknowledging different lifestyles, and experiencing new emotions is not only limiting but also unhealthy. The consequence of refusing to learn from one’s surroundings is facilitating ignorance, laziness, and uniformed decisions. The hand, to me, encapsulates all these things. In its wrinkled skin and relaxed position, one can deduce that it belongs to someone aged and experienced. The subject has travelled many roads and overcome many obstacles. Although cognizant of his or her potential for problem solving, the subject is open to new encounters and excited to learn.
Inside the hand is the image of a seedling with many potential paths for it to take. While some only lead to stubbly bushes, others lead to majestic trees. It is impossible for the seedling to see what its future looks like, so it must rely on its moral compass and deductive reasoning to lead it to success. The seedling symbolizes the aged subject who still has much growing to do before he or she can blossom into a strong tree and contribute to the forest. The journey that the hand represents is an emotional, intellectual, psychological, and spiritual one. By remaining a life-long learner, like the seedling I will be tested. If I proceed through life optimistic and unguarded, my hand may bear resemblance to that of the subject. It, too, will reflect experience, growth and wisdom.
The inspiration behind this illustration came from “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Even though life always presents different avenues, it is often the case that only one can be pursued. As a result, people are left wondering if the path they took was the right one. As in literature, characters are often plagued with self-doubt originating from either personal insecurities or peer pressure. Rather than allowing this fear to envelop them, they make it the force behind their dedication and tenacity. The idea is not to live with doubt and regret, but to embrace the unknown and unpredictable. It is this notion that is encapsulated in the artwork.