I’ve been doing a lot of thinking as of late. Part of this is because two weeks ago I signed the paperwork to go full-time at my job at the grocery store. Part of it is because a few of my friends are moving away to make lives of their own, getting married, and beginning families. Some are landing jobs with really neat companies. Others are forging their own paths. I however, am where I started, with a job but not a creative one, at home trying to figure things out. This got me thinking: when you graduate from college, everyone says that when the fall semester rolls around, you will really feel confused, perhaps even depressed, and lost. The thing is, I really didn’t have these feelings, or at least not strong ones when the fall semester arrived. Yes, I was kind of confused and I missed my art family as it had been when I was in school, but honestly, I was pretty distracted trying to figure out what I thought life was. Late fall rolled around and my Mother was diagnosed with cancer and underwent immediate and life-threatening surgery. My life was turned upside down and I just didn’t have time to think, especially not about myself and my future. Now however, much of the storm with my family, and with my jobs has cooled down. I don’t have a design job, not even an internship, and I have select few clients for graphic design and photography. I do small things and work with my local community arts center, but other than that I work at a grocery store.
And I have time to think. I have realized that many people get to the point where I am now: a full-time job in retail, some community projects, and a side hobby, and they stay there. They get comfortable. Nothing changes. I am terrified that I will get stuck. Yes, I am thankful for my now full-time job (and health insurance: you know you’re an adult when health insurance makes you happy), and yes I am so glad to have the clients I do and be able to work for the community. I just don’t want to be stuck; I want to be free. Yet, I also realize this: what I thought life was 11 months ago, is not what I thought it was 4 months ago, much less what I thought it was yesterday. I understand I by no means have anything figured out, and I have a long way to go. I know that my feelings will change, that things will be different and that I might find a balance.
I just have to get through the part where I can get comfortable and lazy. Just comfortable enough to stop reaching for my dreams, and lazy enough to not make a change. I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth and I truly am thankful for the jobs I have. I just don’t want to be stuck. I am in a creative rut, I don’t have a design schedule, and I don’t have lots of new work to add to a portfolio. I feel all the insecurities I had when I graduated but magnified, because I did not follow what society considers the successful path. I didn’t land a dream job out of college; heck, I didn’t even land a job that could lead to anything in my field out of college. I didn’t decide to take a year and travel. I didn’t decide to take a big risk and start a business. Instead I did what some artists and 20-somethings (and part of society) consider selling out. I got a basic, everyday job, stripped of all glamour, and started working.
The thing is, none of what I did is bad. I got a job, right away. I think I was without some sort of income for at maximum of a month before diving right in. I started this space here (which is my baby and a huge part of my day to day life). I did get some clients, had an internship, and learned a lot. Yes, I live at home, but I am working more closely to pay off my student loans that I would have been able to do in almost any other scenario. I was where, and am where, I needed to be to help my Mother through her battle with cancer and my family as well. Even thought I do not have a lot of free time, I can spend that free time, not worrying about how I am going to afford food, but rather about how and what I can create/design/make next, who I can help next.
Perhaps the path that I am taking, one that is considered a failure in much of what society believes, is really the best for me. Perhaps it is what I need to grow, learn about life, and build a foundation that will help me into the future. Perhaps this is the first step on a long journey to my dream. I don’t have to get stuck, I can use these years as a springboard to grow on my own, in the lovely life that is one of a nobody. I realize, deep down, that the fact that I am having these feelings is a good indicator that I won’t get stuck.
So for now, I think I need to just be. Life is a journey, thanks for listening.
All that because I signed a piece of paper.