Inspiration From My Homeless Friend.

Eye PaintingI have a new favorite person these days – Carlton. A brilliant artist and a genuinely nice human being. I see him each and every day, and each and every day he’s there to greet me with a smile and his regular salutation – “what up, what up my man J?! How you feelin’ today?”. Coming from him, this means a lot.

While Carlton follows his passion by creating art all day (that’s his painting up there on the left), he’s also one of the many homeless here in DC. But rather than roam the streets asking for money every other minute, he finds a curb and he paints. And he paints, and he paints, and he paints! And the most interesting part about it all? He’s HAPPY! I’ve never once seen him complaining or agitated with that brush in his hand – on that street, he’s as peaceful as can be.

Now, I’m not naive to think his life is all rosy and without hardship, nor do understand that much about the homeless lifestyle in general, but I DO know that when Carlton paints he’s following his passion. He’ll sit there for hours sketching on scraps of cardboard, poster board, wood, whatever he can get his hands on. Just this morning I saw him outlining his family portrait on a rug. A rug! Seriously, even if you’re not a fan of art you’d be inspired by this guy.

And I think that’s what this post is really about today – inspiration. Inspiration to keep moving on when life gets you down. To keep pursuing your dreams and holding onto that positive mentality as best you can. Yes we might be in $XX,XXX of debt, or owe way more on our houses than they’re worth, but you know what? Life is more than about making money and working for that next promotion. It’s about LIVING. About finding that little piece of happiness every time we awake. Every time we’re blessed to have another day on this Earth.

Does that mean we just quit our jobs and go fly fishing all day? No, of course not (unless you can figure out a way to make some money off it :) ) but it does mean we could do better at setting aside a little more time each day to pursue the things we enjoy. We still have to pay the bills and all, but following that passion of yours keeps the flame inside of you hopeful and going strong.

And that’s exactly why I put Carlton’s eye painting right next to my desk – to remind me to wake up and spend time on living today. Kinda like he’s watching over me and making sure I don’t forget ;) It’s a wonderful feeling seeing that. My friend right there to remind me of what’s important.

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  1. Sophia August 24, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    My friends and I met Carlton last August (2010) in Dupont Circle, and he inspired all of us with his talent and his amazingly positive attitude. I have not seen him since, and I would love to talk to him again. Do you know of any way in which we could contact him?


  2. J. Money August 26, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    Woah, really? You know him??? That is awesome. He IS so inspiring – I really miss him. It’s been about a year since I last saw him, and when we spoke it turned out he had HIV I wanna say :( Poor guy…. was going back and forth visiting his parents, and then winter hit and he disappears. I’m hoping he’s still doing his thing with the painting though! he is good :) I’m sure he’s still out there now w/ the decent weather, I just no longer work downtown anymore so I don’t know.

    Thx for reminding me of this post – made me happy :)