5″x5″ Watercolor

Inspired by David Foster Wallace‘s speech from a few years ago where he related this story: There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about.

If you haven’t read the speech, you should. It’s inspiring.

While I find humor in a fish desperately trying to pick up an umbrella being weighted down by water (without realizing what water is), I find it disheartening that it’s trapped in its own environment. Like how we are trapped in our “day in and day out” – how easy it is to be on our default setting, and miss the most obvious truth of all.

Illustration Friday has been an opportunity to make me think, appreciate, to take a whiff of fresh air and look outside of my day-to-day trenches of adult life.

The capital T-Truth can be heavy, takes a lot of effort and will power to accept, but at least a certain kind of freedom can be realized, even if it’s the ability to choose when to give up.

“The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death.

It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

“This is water.”

“This is water.”

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand clich√© turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime.” – David Foster Wallace