Over the last 3 months I've been struggling in my mind with the balance between doing what I love, and making a living as a responsible adult.
The 9 to 5 Dilemma
Back in January of 08 I joined up with the Viviti team as the only UI designer on board - it was fresh, exciting, and I told myself I'd give a year of my life to the project, 3 days a week. It's now 3 months over my 1 year deadline and I've only just put in my two weeks notice. Why did it take me an extra 3 months to get up the nerve?
There are things about a 9 to 5 that can be addicting - a regular paycheck, a fun group of guys to work with, a lack of real pressure, and the confidence that other people higher up than you are looking out for your well being. Basically, the need for comfort and stability is a huge draw.
This is a problem for me. I'm a designer because I'm passionate about design. I create because I am creative by nature. This is my passion, my life. When my passion is replaced with my desire for security and comfort, I'm letting go of a major part of what it means for me to be human.
It Goes for Freelancing Too
I'd love to say this is only a problem in the 9 to 5 world, but in my freelance life I can see it too.
I started around 15 years ago with teenage ideals - art for fun, rock'n roll, anti-establishment. I'd spend all night designing band posters, artwork for me, cruising for inspiration and being wow'd by the glorious, seemingly endless, vastness of the internet.
Fast forward all these years to now. I may still shave my head into a mohawk, cruise for inspiration and ride a skateboard - but the real evidence is where the majority of my time has gone; I've given the lions share of years to online banking and interface and web design for business, while half-sewn t-shirts lay in my closet, unused silk screens litter my house, unpainted canvas's beckon from the corner, and unexpressed creativity bubbles to the surface in my every day interactions.
I guess being an adult means I have bills to pay. I guess it means I want that car, bike, boat or house. I guess we all want our Starbuck's or Pete's a few times a week eh?
Finding a Balance
This isn't meant to be a complaint letter - I love my life, I'm happy with what I've achieved and who I am - but there's definitely room for growth.
Think about where you're spending the majority of your time. Think about what your passions are. Why did you get into this work? If your time spent isn't lining up with your passions, it may be time to make a change. I don't necessarily mean doing anything as drastic as quitting your job - but make the time to create what you love, for the sake of being creative.
There's a fine balance between living and loving, and in this next chapter of my life I intend to get closer to it. What do you think?