My 44th birthday is in just over a week. For the past year, I’ve been thinking a lot about my career, my studio—just my life overall. There’s been tremendous opportunities, some great times and experiences but also some very, very tragic happenings. Throughout all my reflecting, one feeling has kept coming to the surface. I’M TIRED.
Tired emotionally; tired spiritually; tired financially; tired physically which all makes me tired creatively. The desire to one day run my own design studio has been there since I started designing. In one sense, I succeeded in achieving that goal. In another sense, I still haven’t. In the last few years though that desire as been waning. While I’ve been trying to make a go of my studio, I have also had to support my wife’s business, support my kid’s programs/schooling and sustain our household. All this support has severely weakened my creative foundation. My mind is filled with worry, anxiety, stress and tension. From my mind all the worry, anxiety, stress and tension has now become physical as my body aches with pain that didn’t exist before. None of which helps a creative mind live, grow and expand. This is not quite the picture I had in mind all those years dreaming of my own studio.
Finding solutions for problems has been how I’ve operated all my life. At this point in my life, I’m having trouble finding those solutions. The energy to create solutions is so strained it hurts to think about it. I truly HATE this feeling. The one solution that I keep arriving at is that someone’s dream has to die and that someone is me. With no solid support structure to sustain both mine and my wife’s dreams, the responsible side of me says I would fare better going back into the corporate world. While I like running my own studio, it has been extremely difficult juggling all that it takes to run a business, support another business, support the household, be there for your kids, be a good husband, try to be a good friend and still find time to be creative. In all of this, I’ve lost myself and I don’t know how to get ME back.
With the age-old question ‘Would you change how you’ve done things?’, my answer would be an unequivocal HELL YES!
Definitely I would’ve opened my studio at a younger age not married and no kids. More time and energy could be devoted to growing a client base, creative campaigns and travel to new markets without feeling guilty about not being there for your family. Definitely would’ve been more firm on business decisions that in the long-term would have been beneficial. Definitely would’ve engaged in more personal creativity instead of giving it to others. There’s things that I see now that I should’ve chosen a different path but the reality is I can’t go back and change them. I can only go forward and chose the paths that are best suited for the here and now. Eventually I will find ME again and rebuild my creative foundation.
However, today it just feels like that will a day that is so very far away.