Not sure how to say what I want to say but I gotta say it.
I’ll start with balance. It’s all about balance. So the balance, the counter-point, rather than the main point is that some days I wish I’d earned more money in the past. Some days I wish I’d focussed more on a ‘viable career’ and less on my creative path. Some days. Not today.
From my point of view no path may be considered the only ‘right’ path, every path has different sacrifices for different gains and every person wants different gains according to their preferences. On top of that every day is different and even our preferences change.
But today I am proud of the path I have walked and the reasons why I have walked it.
Recently I had a conversation with a friend who took a different path. In a job he doesn’t liuke with people he doesn’t like much for years. They’re creative too, but similarly to the way I sacrificed having alot of money for the freedom to squat and not work full time for years he sacrificed having alot of freedom for the sake of having alot of money. When we spoke last he did not sound happy about it, and was telling me he’s proud of me that I kept ‘my soul’.
Now, remember the balance – there were days I slept in a warehouse with no central heating and only had food from skips. There were days when most of my friends were in India and I couldn’t afford to go anywhere. I did this so I could focus on my craft and focus on my creative outlet without relying on benefits from a system I despised. In fact it was one week living in a cold van without enough money to buy a burner or pay anyone to install it that I decided I am going to make alot more money and invest it in profitable positive ventures. (These days I live in a warm house in suburban London and I’m training for a career in Steiner school teaching while also learning about shares.)
Now there is a middle ground. It’s all about balance. There’s not much point having freedom to lie in nature if you haven’t got the abundance to keep warm, but there’s no point having the money if you haven’t got the time to enjoy it. But you rarely hear about the otherside. Society is geared towards money, money, money, and rarely do we stop to ask ‘why’?
It’s funny cos I recently had a training day for a market research job and walked out cos the managers were arrogant and childish. I had waves of feeling proud of myself for walking away and waves of feeling guilty. After that recent conversation, and a few others, I will no longer feel guilty about that. It is not my path.
It is rare that someone who really knows me, knows the life I have lived and the path I have walked can look me in the eye and tell me they are proud of me. The people on that list are short, most of them would take it for granted that they’re proud of me and the rest (my mum) wishes I went to law school. So today I am proud of who I am, what I’ve done and most importantly why I did it.
Unless someone that really knows you looks you in the eye and gives you the “you still have your soul” speech who knows, I could wonder forever if I made the right decisions and hopefully conclude that I could only have made those decisions and stop anxiously worrying about it.
So I’m glad my soul is intact and still visible, I’m glad that I have found more lucrative but not soul destroying paths to walk and I’m glad that my friend has the vision and awareness to see that he may be happier if he adjusts his priorities.
But to me no path is the ‘right’ path, every path has different sacrifices for different gains and each person is different. Every day is unique and we all adjust the balance according to the day and according to our preferences.
So I’m not better than anybody. But I’m not worse either. And I’m certainly not worse due to the income and lifestyle I used to have. But in a life that has been over-shadowed by insecurity I am taking this moment to affirm – I’m proud of who I am, I’m proud of what I’ve done and why I did it, and I’m proud of what I do and why I do it.