For my entire adult life I have been focused on employment and financial security. At university I switched degrees halfway through the one I started because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find a secure job with a Business Degree. I became a high school teacher and quite liked it. After three years, though, I felt I needed a change and I missed my home town. The Education Department wouldn’t transfer me so I made the heart-stopping decision to leave my first ever full-time, permanent job. Fortunately, I found another job fairly quickly in the public service–nice and secure and safe. I’ve worked in the same office ever since.
Over the years, I’ve dabbled in various creative endeavours (writing, painting, sculpture), but never very seriously and rarely completing projects. I always doubted my skill and dismissed others’ compliments as politeness. Recently, I’ve taken up photography and met some amazing professional photographers and authors. Hanging out (however briefly) with these awesome people has made me realise three things:
- Creating art, whether photographic, literary or whatever, brings me incredible joy, like nothing I have ever experienced in my day job.
- It is entirely possible to make creating art the focus of your life and still earn enough to live comfortably.
- I might actually have some genuine artistic talent.
So, the other day, on the train on the way to my safe and secure but suddenly unfulfilling day job, I decided to see if I, too, could make creating art the focus of my life. I am going to leave the sturdy and protective walls of permanent, full-time employment and head into the tangled, trackless forest that is the life of a professional photographer/writer/artist. I am absolutely terrified but this is something I have to at least try.