Wednesday, 4 July 2012

My 200th Blog Post

This is my 200th post on this blog and for this reason I wanted to make it significant. I'm going to talk about the simple matter of doing what you love.

Most people have a passion. Something that consistently interests them, and gives them great pleasure. For me it's image making. It always has been. For others it might be writing, or acting, or even playing frisbee. It doesn't matter what it is, but most people have an activity or interest that demands their attention - and I'm slowly learning that that doesn't make them (or me) special. It doesn't make me special that I love to paint, because Jenny down the road loves to play tennis every opportunity she gets, and Bob has the biggest collection of jelly moulds in the south-west. Everyone has a passion, it's in our nature to focus on things that make us happy, and shape our lives with them.

With passion, comes great responsibility, and after graduation I assumed it was my responsibility to make my passion for painting my career, and not stop until I got there. But I never imagined the great struggle I'd go through to get to the stage I am at today, and I wonder if I had thought more about my overall happiness and less about the C word (career) I could have saved myself a lot of stress.

With my 200th blog post under my belt, and with my early twenties nearly (finally) over, I feel it's about time to shake off the pressure I have wrapped around what I love before it destroys it. I now believe that if you have something you love to do, this is great, but if it's not in high demand, chances are pretty slim on making it your career in it's purest form. But it doesn't have to be your career or sole source of income, just because you love it.

I think the key to being happy, and this is nothing new by any means, is to find a balance in life. When I first started out as a graduate illustrator, there was no balance. I was ridiculously broke and constantly stressed about this. I had none of life's small pleasures, because I simply couldn't afford them. I was chasing what I thought I should be chasing - but the reality is that most people don't love their careers, at least not right away. Most people have that Sunday night dread that sits heavy in their stomachs, waiting for another working week. But, most people are happy (massive, massive generalisation I'm sorry- but I'm trying to make a point).

There's a reason we all work. Because it funds our existence. It pays for the roof over our heads, the food in our bellies, the much needed Friday nights out. This, to me, seems like a pretty good trade off. It's the small things in life that all link together to create the feeling of contentment and of happiness, and really, it's ok if your passion doesn't entirely fund this. I see this now. Because having other work that supports your basic human needs (food, shelter, comfort, a summer holiday!!!) will provide the frame of mind you need to do what you love, to the best of your ability.

Don't get me wrong, I am a paid illustrator, and I'm extremely grateful to have worked with some amazing clients this year. But I also have other work that keeps me afloat, and I've noticed that this is something not often talked about in the creative industry - are we, perhaps, ashamed of it?

This blog post is to anyone (me included) who worries and stresses and panics over their passion, and the pressure of making it your career. A drive to do what you love is a good thing, but it's important to look up occasionally, and see that life is beautiful and there to be enjoyed. For a happy few, their passion is also their career, but us day-jobbers can be happy too, we can paint part-time, and we can afford to have our cake in our favourite café and eat it.


  1. Great post, I'm just coming up on five years since graduating and have spent most of those worrying about the exact same thing. I found it's only when you realise that what's important is enjoying what you 'are' doing, not stressiing about what you 'should' be doing. :)