I love keeping issues of my favorite publications, but lately, the shelves where I store my collection are beginning to bow under the weight. So, it was time to make a little room, hopefully adverting a potentially hazardous situation.
In the middle of my cleaning endeavor, I ran across this issue of Memories. It was the first time my artwork had been shown in a magazine. I clearly remember the day it arrived in the post; my hands were trembling as I opened the cover. I cried when I saw my article.
I cried tears of happiness, tears of gratitude, and tears of disbelief. I had been almost afraid that being published would turn out to be some kind of dream.
But, here in my hands.... was a dream come true. It was quite a milestone for me with many more wonderful moments to come.
I could not help but re-reading my words printed on the glossy page. Emotions began to well up inside, as I remembered the difficult choice I had made, so many years ago, to abandon a ten-year career in the computer field to pursue my passion. I felt so brave as I embarked on this new chapter. I was daring to have a different life.
In the days ahead, I lived through agonizing moments with both family and friends suggesting, hinting, or implying that this decision was completely insane, and most certainly professional suicide. Reminding me that I was throwing away a college degree, a good salary, and hard earned years of tenure.
Although I realized their advice was well meaning, it was still not something I wanted to hear. What I wanted was for them to sympathize, and support me 100%, no questions asked. I knew how I felt as a computer analyst, like a round peg trying to fit into a square hole, and I could not understand how no one else seemed to recognize it.
Those years, of returning to school for an art degree, were some of the toughest times of my life. Not only was I taking as many classes I as could handle with endless amounts of homework to be done and constant tests to be taken, I was also working 30 hours as a graphic design intern. I had something to prove, not only to the world at large, but more importantly to myself. I worked harder than I ever had.
My feelings today are as strong about this decision, as they were back then. For me, this way of life is not just a hobby, or casual past time, it is part of everything I do. It is who I am, and who I was meant to be.
But I must admit that lately, I have been feeling a bit timid and scared. I am currently engaged in the very activity, that I have LONGED to do since I began this life altering change. I am actually pursuing my own art, and ALL its possibilities.
Yet, I worry about the "What Ifs".
Now looking back at this first published work, I am gently reminded by my own words about all the "What Ifs" of living this dream as an artist in the first place.
I believed in myself and had faith then, even when I did not have all the answers.
Deep in my heart, I want to continue pursuing this path, travel this road, and keep trying. And, I am certain that it is sure to fill my days with joy, a few detours, hopefully some incredible opportunities or lucky breaks, as well as disappointments.
Most of all, I know I am guaranteed a life... that was lived with passion.