As humans, it’s easy for us to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We are absorbed in everything except dedicating time for ourselves. Time for reflection and taking care of our mental health is essential in today’s world. Work the overtime, run the dog to the vet, take the kids to soccer practice, hit the gym, stay at work to perfect a project, scroll through social media until we are numb. Rinse. Repeat. Yes, a lot of these things are our responsibilities and need to be done, but when was the last time we stopped to think about our passions?
Since I was a child, I have had a love for art and being creative. My mother painted beautiful designs on flower pots and sold them at a local craft shop. I admired her for this. She made coin pouches that I’d show off in grade school and say, “Look what my mom made!” I knew I wanted to follow in her creative footsteps. Time passed, and I went to college. I studied Communications, which eventually led to Communications in the Arts. After receiving an A.A. in Communications, I shifted my focus to Fine Arts. I graduated with a B.F.A. concentrated in painting.
Entering the working world, I landed my first “real” job in podiatry. This was not ideal, but at 22, it was fine. For roughly eleven years, I bounced between several healthcare and compliance positions while expanding my professional artist portfolio on the side. Even though I had residencies, exhibitions, and community studio space, something was eating away at me, and I was forever unsatisfied. Often asking myself, “When will I find a job I truly enjoy?” I was looking in all of the wrong places. I was afraid to take a leap and move out of my comfort zone. The answer had always been within me.
Rewind to 2020 when the pandemic hit. Businesses closed, workers were furloughed, hours were cut, people started working from home, and the country went into lockdown. During this time, I experienced a huge shift in my mental health. I questioned my life goals and my career path and took a deep dive into my passion for the arts. I decided to focus more on my art career and cut down to part-time work. Eventually, another curveball was tossed my way, and I pushed to go back to work full-time. Things began to plummet; I started to sink. I wasn’t following my gut, and I was trying to stuff myself into a box that wasn’t fit for me. I persevered, yet I was mentally deteriorating. Something had to change. Then along came “The Great Resignation.” In November of 2021, after many trying times, I decided to resign from my position in health care compliance and completely leave the organization in which I was employed. It was time to grow my personal career. Terrified of what would come next, I knew it was for the best. When taking such a risk, be sure to have:
• A strong support system;
• Enough money to cover finances for 6-12months; and
• The resources and tools to get you on your feet.
Over the last several months, I have expanded my personal business. I have never felt so liberated and happy. I am creating and showing more art, collaborating with the community, mentoring, painting murals in homes, offices, and local businesses. I also have a new endeavor to be announced this spring!
My father always told me, “Nothing is temporary. You don’t have to stay in a career that makes you unhappy. You control your future.” Dad is right. We control our future and our happiness. We are capable of achieving more than we think. I’d like to offer some advice. Have confidence in yourself and in your future. Network, create a personal brand, and market your business. Take advantage of seminars and workshops in your field. Stay educated on current events. You will hit roadblocks; people will doubt and discourage you. Be persistent. A seed does not sprout without water and sunlight. That sprout will not bloom into a flower without continuous care. Be kind to yourself. It’s a world of possibilities.
Take the leap.