So, yes, I am leaving my full-time job so I can spend more time on my art. But that is the short story. There is so much behind that statement.
But first, the quick and dirty: Today, March 31st, is my last day at my job. I’ve been there as a full-time employee for five years and was a regular contractor and intern for two more years. Seven years feels like a lot for a first job out of college, especially for someone that graduated in 2009.
Going forward, I’m going to be spending roughly half my time painting and building my art business. With the other half of my time, I will consult and work on a freelance basis in brand and digital advertising strategy (what I was doing in my full-time job), which I really do enjoy.
I’ve never been that into New Year’s resolutions, but 2015 was different. I decided to really attack my art business – what would happen if I spent more time painting? More time marketing my art? Moving from legit hobby to respectable side biz to…? And with that increased effort, I saw results. I like that kind of feedback. I like working hard and it paying off.
But, since I was spending more time on art, by definition, that meant I was spending less time on other things – less time exercising, less time preparing and enjoying healthy food and new recipes, less time relaxing and adventuring with my husband. Less time sleeping. Without hesitation, I would say that all those things are more important to me than my art; however, I have come to realize that making art is not an option for me and all these other – more important – things are somehow easier to push aside.
Being that I am a millennial and we’re infamous for thinking we should be able to pursue our passions and make money doing what we love (and for being lazy and entitled), I decided this situation wasn’t ok for me and what I wanted for our life. I wanted to be able to make and sell art as part of my work week. I wanted to reclaim my evenings and weekends. And I didn’t feel that bad about the idea of saying “bye” to a good, full-time job.
We have put hustling and being busy up on a pedestal. I’m trying to take them down. It will likely be hard for me because, to be clear, I value hard work and am a little bit of a go-go-go type. (And, I don’t know many small business owners that don’t work a gazillion hours.) But I am going to try and I am optimistic. This change is about seeing where I can go with these art dreams of mine, but it’s also about taking a walk in the evening, and watching the sunset from the patio, or curling up on the couch to watch TV with the person I love after a full day’s work. Because on every day before today, coming home from work was, “Ok, now my day starts. Now I can work on what I really want to work on – painting, or updating my website, or researching art consultants, or packing greeting cards, or writing press releases…”
And, not to get into a whole other topic, but it’s about those damn round-the-clock work emails. Now, if I choose to check and respond to emails at 10 at night and starting at 6 in the morning, it’s going to be because I am building my dream. I will be consciously taking time away from my life and my relationship for something that leads to direct benefits for us. Like Tony Gaskins said, “If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help build theirs.” I am working for me now.
And, not to go to a heavy place, but we have lost some friends in the past few years. They were our age, with their whole lives in front of them. I kind of think all of us fortunate enough to be here owe it to those that aren’t to be our best selves. And, I don’t see any reason to hope I make it to 65 so I can then start doing what I want. So, it’s about that too – mortality.
But yes, I am quitting so I can “do art.”
I understand that my husband and I are extraordinarily fortunate; we have also worked hard and made sacrifices. This post is only about me and the choices I have with the resources available to me at this time.