The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are. Some people are extremely lucky to have that understanding and focus early in their lives… but I certainly was not one of them.
As a kid I always wanted to be a Disney animator but was distracted with the direction life took me. I found music and spent 15 years writing songs and playing in bands. Though I learned a lot and had many great experiences, something was still missing. It seemed that no matter how I decided to pursue creativity I always found myself doodling in notebooks and on scraps of paper because it made me happy.
In 2007 I graduated from Chico State with a B.A. in drawing but like most art graduates had no idea how to apply that to actually making money. So I did the safe thing... I stayed at my college retail job thinking, "This is only temporary until I find that "art" job I'm meant to have."
7 YEARS LATER...
I simply did not believe in myself anymore. My days were spent being yelled at by the general public for things I didn't care about. My eye was twitching from the stress and I became moody and irritable. I had seen other friends make a living in the Arts yet I still didn't have the confidence to take the jump myself. While working at this job that drained me I pursued my dream "part-time", making albums, an instructional graphic novel, two short films, starting a Graphic Design Business (part-time), and making many illustrations... but I still felt like I was going about it all wrong. My co-workers on a daily basis would tell me, "Why are you here? You should be doing what you love."
It took a comment from a manager to kickstart things. He said, "You and I... we are going to be lifers."
My heart sank.
A NEW BEGINNING...
We become individuals through the combination of our interests, influences, experiences, failures, and successes. All of these things when put together make us unique but it is sometimes hard to figure out what to do with them.
I did not leave my job suddenly or without the support of my wife and family. I transitioned from full-time to part-time one year ago, paid off debt, put some money in savings, and took a calculated risk. My goal is to make a living being creative...however that may be. It really scares me but I've learned that I do my best work when I'm scared.
I am about two weeks into it and have managed to make a little money with graphic design. I am finishing my movie "The Spaceman", and am starting to put myself out there as a freelance illustrator. I had a couple stressful days so far but then I looked around at my desk and remembered how miserable I used to be.
The reality is, there will never be the perfect set of circumstances so if we want to live our lives to the fullest we must create those opportunities ourselves. I now understand how I want to live my life and I'm taking a leap before this idea becomes a regret. It may not take me where I want to go, but it may take me someplace even better.
I will continue to write here once a month about my experiences as a way to keep myself on track and accountable. If you are reading this and have any similar experiences or insight, please share in the comments below.