Google Image never fails me… ever.
People, people, people… two posts in the past two weeks is just not good enough. I’ll let you in on what’s been going on with me during that time: I have reached the mecca of self-discovery. I have finally realized who it is I actually am. I have come to the conclusion that leaving college and starting adulthood is a mind-fuck. But it has lead me to discovering what it is my “path” in life might be, or at least where this so-called path starts…
Let me give you some backstory: My initial transition from college to “real life” was easy and effortless. By graduation day I had everything all figured out. I had my post-grad, two month travel plans set up. I knew I would be moving to New York in the end of July 2012. I already had an apartment to live in (and my decoration plans all drawn up). I had a great job lined up, with a boss that I loved. I had a solid base of friends and acquaintances already living in NYC, and I had foolproof plans (ha!) on how I was going to make new friends and really immerse myself into the NYC culture. I was ready and it was going to be fabulous.
Well, well, well… the universe had different plans for me. Here I am, exactly 10 months out of college and living a life that does not represent that ill-prepared plan at all.
I quit my job 5 months ago and have been (kinda) unemployed ever since (kinda meaning I am working part time for my mom). In that time, I have applied for a lot of jobs, had some interviews, but never got hired. And I have been okay with that (not so okay with what that has meant for my rapidly dissolving savings account). What I have been struggling with is figuring out what my new plan is, or, if not a plan, then a path–somewhere for me to start.
I’ve always had this idea of who I am and what I should do with my life (one of those things was to live in NYC after college). It was never really a decision I consciously made, it was just the “plan” all along. This plan started a long time ago… I am an artist and my passion in life is making art and creating, but before I started college I decided being an artist wasn’t the “appropriate” career for me (I came to the conclusion both on my own, as well as through outside influences). So, instead of majoring in art, I majored in journalism (and only minored in art). I figured if art can’t be my job I can at least be creative while writing, and maybe be an art director for a publication or something. I always had some general ideas of what my career could be, but I never really came to a definitive conclusion.
Over the past 5 months, while fighting tooth and nail to figure out how to be happy in this new life, I was trying to figure out what my career path should be. But I kept coming to the same conclusion: All these jobs I am applying for just aren’t for me. Just reading the job descriptions would make me dread the position. That didn’t sit right with me. Why am I trying so hard to get a job that will make me miserable? And once I figured in the starting salaries of these jobs it really became a joke. Why was I willing to kill myself for pennies (okay, more than pennies, and maybe it wouldn’t kill me, but it sure wouldn’t make me happy or content).
I would have conversations about this dilemma with everyone: with my parents, my parents friends, my friends, my friends friends– and everyone who knew me even just a little bit said variations of the same sentence, “Umm, Christine, why aren’t you pursuing art. That’s your talent and your passion, so why isn’t it your job? You need to be an artist.” And every time this conversation occurred I would say the same thing, “Right? I wish! That’s all I want to do. That would make everything so much easier. But no, I can’t be an artist, I need to get a real job.” Over and over, I was being bashed in the head with the answer I was so desperately looking for, but I was forcefully ignoring and dismissing it. (Side note: What the hell is a real job? Being an artist can be a REAL job!)
That’s what brings me to these past two weeks. Exactly two weeks ago, on Wednesday, February 27, 2013, I was sitting on the M57-Crosstown bus during evening rush hour (which is a joke-I could walk faster than the bus moves during that time), and out of nowhere it hit me. I NEED TO BE AN ARTIST! This simple thought, that had been thrown at me for so long, in every conversation, finally broke through. It hit me so hard, it shattered everything in my head. Every idea I’ve ever had about myself or the shoulds that have plagued me for so long. This moment started a ripple effect that has led to other realizations that have taken place since that Wednesday.
Initially, I quite literally believed that idea meant I was supposed to paint paintings and sell them. I was so excited and proud of this idea that I called my mom immediately and told her. We are two ends of the same rope, so she got on-board immediately and was just as excited with me. The next day, with a newfound excitement for life and a tangible sense of purpose (one that I had lost in the previous 10 months), we spoke again on the phone. She asked me how my job search was going… *tires screeching to a stop* What?! Panic ran through me. Umm, I thought we talked about this, com’on mom, I’m going to be an artist remember?… After a logical conversation, I realized at this point it isn’t possible to properly sustain myself by just being an artist that paints paintings and sells them. So there I was back at the drawing board, literally. I continued to make or work on a piece of art everyday.
A few days after that bus ride, I was feeling more lost than I felt before I had the realization. I knew what I needed to do to be happy–be an artist, create things–but I had no idea how to do it successfully or on my terms. So I was just pushing through, I kept creating everyday, had another job interview, kept applying for jobs, but my heart wasn’t in it. I was thinking a lot about my parents and grandparents, all entrepreneurs, and had another realization: I have been given an entrepreneurial spirit, I want to create my world, including a job and business. This opened the floodgates and ideas began crashing through my head. These ideas have grown and blossomed into other exciting thoughts and plans–I know, could I be less specific?
It’s just the beginning and some exciting things are already in the works, and as soon as I can I will share! I think this new path is the right one and I am so thankful to be on it. I have realized who I am, what I want, and what I have been pushing aside for so long. I think this adulthood thing is growing on me… As challenging as it has been to get to this point, I am so happy I’ve experienced it all. A great preparation for what’s ahead!
Thanks for reading… Okay, bye.