“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e. e. cummings
I was so inspired by it, that I couldn’t wait to come home and pin it up above my desk, where it happily now resides.
Truth be told, it pretty much sums up how I feel these days. The journey to who I currently am and what I do for a living has been a long one, and it definitely took some courage to get here.
I think it’s the lucky ones who wake up one day in high school and know for certain what they want to do for a living, and then go to college, graduate, and actually make that dream their career. Do you know anyone like that? Because I think I know… one. Ok, maybe two.
And then there’s the rest of us… the ones who thought they knew what they wanted to do, got a degree, and ended up working in a job in a completely different field. Truth be told, there are an awful lot of us:
“According to the economist Andrew Sum of Northeastern University, more than 44 percent of college graduates under 25 who were area studies majors were unemployed in 2009 or working in a job that did not require their degree.” (NY Times)
I am part of this 44 percent. Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I often sketched clothing, sewed, and had big dreams of working in the glamourous world of fashion. I paid way too much money to attend a 2-year college in LA that shall remain nameless (ahem, FIDM), received a pathetic AA, worked in the industry for a couple of years and was unhappy. Turns out it wasn’t what I wanted, after all.
– This could totally go off on a tangent so I’ll keep it brief, but how is an 18 year old supposed to know what they want to do for the rest of their life? It’s no wonder so many of us turn out to be wrong; I think it’s far too young of an age to decide on a career. –
So I started searching and trying to find out who I was and what I was “supposed” to be doing. Turns out I had the creative part right, I was just in the wrong industry. After a job change that was sort of terrible in and of itself but did help me discover my love for writing and graphic design, I finally figured out who I wanted to become.
But I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I had wasted money going to college for something that I ultimately didn’t want to do (although many of the things I learned were still applicable in my new ventures, and my love of fashion was still a popular topic in my writing). I felt, in essence, like I had failed, not to mention, wasted precious time.
It took immense courage, my friends, to pick up my hanging head, push aside my fear and start over. I went back to school and started working on a journalism and graphic design degree. I was 25 by this point, and I felt old in the college scene. What’s worse, my husband and I made the difficult decision to move back in with my parents for a short time so that I could begin a freelance career without having to worry about rent. Nothing like moving back home as a married woman to knock down your self-esteem…
If it weren’t for my EXTREMELY patient, supportive, loving husband, I don’t think I could have ever made the switch. He gave me the boost of courage that I needed to find my career. Without him, I may have continued on working 40+ hours a week in an industry that I didn’t love, because that was what I had chosen for myself (and I’m no quitter).
But he pushed me. He reassured me of my talents and skills in writing and graphic design, and at times, he forced me out of my comfort zone and into doing things I hated but ultimately have made all the difference in my career and who I am now. He helped me grow up; and I thank God for him and for making him a part of my journey.
I firmly believe that a career is different from a job. A career is something that you love to your core; something you get up for in the morning, something you think about, plan, and chase after even in your sleep. Shouldn’t you spend your days doing something you love? Retirement is a long way off; enjoy your working years while you’re in them!
I am so happy right now. Life is hard, and freelancing has its challenges, but dammit, I love every minute. When I sell a product on Etsy; my heart is full of joy and thankfulness. When I get an uplifting comment on Facebook or the blog, I am on cloud nine.
I thrive in what I do. I feel like I have finally become who I really am, and I am proud of my journey. It may not have been easy, but what in life is?
Have you grown up yet? Are you doing what you love? Did it take you courage to do it? I want to know!