A statement of intent

January Crab TrapWARNING:  THIS MAY GET A LITTLE “JACK HANDY” AT POINTS.  APOLOGIES IN ADVANCE.

I am envious people who are strong enough to follow their aspirations instead of following a path that society proscribed for them. They are the ones who do things that they find meaningful and fulfilling instead of simply going to a job to earn a paycheck. They are the ones who don’t buy into the 9 to 5. They are the ones who though they may be struggling are still having a hell of a lot of fun. They are the ones who believe that they can do it — whatever it happens to be.

I know I’m not alone. There are many out there like me. People who have strong creative skills but who have subordinated them for the sake of following a path that they believe is “the right thing to do.” Most of us are pretty miserable most of the time.

For too long, I’ve told myself that I can’t. I can’t make a living cooking — even though cooking is my favorite thing to do. I can’t make a living as a photographer — even though I’ve got a good eye and have captured some really great images. I can’t make a living as an artist — even though I do a pretty good job of producing some nice drawings and paintings. I can’t make a living as a writer — even though that’s what I studied in college and I can usually put coherent thoughts down on paper. (Or in bits and bytes as the case may be.) I can’t ditch the 9 to 5 rat race of a life that I’ve got — even though I know that’s what I need to do.

I’m formulating a plan to break out of this self-inflicted trap. I don’t know exactly what the plan is, but I know that I’ve got to start somewhere. I suppose this is the start. It’s time to get my collective shit together and start focusing on some things that are important to me and that might be a source of income in the future.

This much I do know — Fear is my trap. Fear of failure. Fear of inability. Fear of finding out that I can’t hack it. Fear that I won’t be good enough.

Well, I’m standing up and facing these fears. It may take some time. It may be difficult. I will make mistakes. But I’m going to move past these fears.

I can.

2 thoughts on “A statement of intent

  1. Sounds good Damien! A couple of thoughts for you as you begin:

    1.) keep your day-job. This is not an insult or to say you can’t succeed. I just want to provoke you to renew your efforts in your current job (particularly if it’s not terribly inspiring) while you are considering other options. I tell you this from experience – a trap I have to consistently avoid is disengaging from one job while another prospect is not ripe.

    2.) A friend recommended, “What Color is your Parachute?”. Grab it from the library or book store, go to page 179 and begin the section called “Finding a Life”. To quote the book, it “begins with you and what it is that you want out of life”. I just picked it up and am starting to go through it. The promise of the book is to help me think through who I am and what I want to do. You may find out that your current work is the right work for you and that writing, drawing, painting, cooking and photography will continue to be important activities for you, just not your job.

    3. Finally, I’ll add a thought that one of my brothers laid on me when I was frustrated about work. I add it not to discourage you or discount your interest in meaninful work, but just to add perspective. He asked me to consider what would happen if I had this conversation with one of my ancestors living 200 years ago who struggled mightily to earn enough for food, clothing and shelter. It makes me grateful for the opportunity to seek meaning in my work.

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    1. Schmiddy-

      All very good suggestions. I’ve got no intention of dropping the day job – not yet – maybe someday.

      I too am grateful for the fact that I’ve got first world problems and don’t have to worry about basic survival.

      Like

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