Have you ever built a bookshelf? And about half way through the instructions you realize you have no idea where the part that corresponds with letter B1 goes? You track back through the previous several steps to see if you can make it make sense, but to no avail. It’s not that you don’t want the bookshelf, or that you are even thinking about giving up on building it. It’s just that you’re starting to wonder if you really have any business building it in the first place.
I think sometimes choosing the creative life is a bit like building a bookshelf. You think you’re fine until you realize that you possibly got part B1 confused with A2 and now the entire structure seems a bit … wonky.
Part of you considers tearing the whole thing down, shoving it haphazardly into the box and sending it back to wherever you ordered it from, leaving a scathing review about the instructions being hard to follow.
Except that in this case it’s not really a bookshelf, now is it?
And if you ever really had a choice to begin with you might have decided against starting on this path in the first place.
And this is where we transition from talking about the hypothetical bookshelf to talking instead about where you stand on choosing the creative life. You’ve trod down this path for so long that it’s just as many steps back to the beginning as it would be to see it through.
I can say I’ve walked both paths – choosing to focus on the creating as a reality more recently.
I started with the regular day to day career that everyone tells you when you’re young is sensible. Except they are telling you this at the same time as lamenting your inability to understand sensible if it hit you in the face. Seems silly to expect you to go down the sensible path to begin with, now doesn’t it?
But that’s what I did.
I followed the sensible path. The bills got paid. I shriveled up inside, withering a bit like a plant that hasn’t been watered in a very, very long time.
I like to talk about why it’s important to hold on to and follow the dreams you have. Albeit while making sure to consider how to pay the bills and stay out of the cardboard box under a bridge at the same time. You just have to remember to water the plants too.
I’m working on understanding what that balance is. How to do what I love while still paying the bills. It can be done.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Herman Cain