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monkey bars

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an old boat

Time, age, money, and the things in between.

Tonight on the way home, I was planning what’s left of the week + the upcoming weekend, and all the things I need and want to do within the next few days. It’s going to be busy. I like what I do very much, this whole illustration thing, and so consequently I like being busy with it.

Maybe it’s that end-of-the-day feeling, but I got to thinking about how, for once, I don’t want to be busy. I just want to stay at home and read a book, hang out with people, or make something that doesn’t need to be liked by or sold to anyone, without feeling guilty that I’m not doing anything, not putting myself out there to make a living, investing in my future, making baby steps towards The Dream™, which honestly feels so far away and improbable already, but that’s a topic for another day. Reality check: I can’t afford a lot of things, especially with recent developments in the family, etc, etc. I can’t afford to not be constantly working.

SIDE NOTE: You know what is a painful thing to witness? People you love, aging and getting all sorts of complications that come with the decline.

It’s one of those life phases. I’m not having the best year financially, and might not be for who knows how much longer. I thought I was okay but in the past months, a lot of things suddenly needed to be paid for. I didn’t leave enough margin in my life budget for Unexpected Life Things, and so I have been on my toes and it is not enjoyable. Lesson learned, charged to experience, but wow it’s tiring to always think of work and how to pay the bills, current and future.

Which brought me to thinking about the level of comfort I have with the body of work I have now, and how it’s becoming a more urgent matter to be good so much faster and get hired more. The drill.

I’ve always kept a mental note to be kind to myself first before I seek validation from others. It’s not that I don’t value criticisms or comments from mentors and other people whose opinions I respect. It’s just that I think I should like my work more than anyone else first, and be comfortable with what I do even when literally nobody else likes the work that I enjoy making. This makes social media the double-edged sword that it is because yey you get to show others this thing you really liked working on but also haha nobody actually likes it, not even your friends, lol. There will always be that little ugly monster who will keep whispering in your ear how your friends are so much better than you and you will end up lonely and left alone with all your incompetent work. Silence that little devil using all means possible.

Here are some gentle reminders:
1. Surprise! Art and work is NOT EVERYTHING in the grand scheme of things. It’s like exercise: all your efforts will be for naught if you don’t remember to breathe.
2. If you feel you need to submit a goddamn portfolio and CV to someone just to get them to care, they might not be your friend, just saying.

I have mixed feelings about this because A) I don’t want to live in a bubble. B) Who doesn’t want their work appreciated by others?

Above all, though, I guess the root of all these anxieties is that I just really want to get so much better at what I do. It gives me such great joy to know I’ve pulled off something AND that other people take away some good feeling about it also. And you know, real talk, it will also give me great joy to share work that I like AND get paid for it.

I really want to be good at drawing and painting and working on design projects. With life lately though, squeezing in practice hours to improve these skills is such a ginormous effort right now because I spend too much time on the road stuck in traffic, leaving me almost no time and energy to make stuff after work at night. There was a time I could still draw everyday at night before bed. And weekends used to be enough and now they are not. It all sounds like I’m making excuses when I repeat these to myself and it’s frustrating because they are real, but ahh. Anyway. I should figure this out. It’s making me kind of sad just thinking about it, haha, but I’m not going to give up.

Y E S.

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On a different note, another little thing I’ve been carrying around me the past few weeks is the question of whether I’m doing too many different things. I just really have a lot of interests and hobbies, and they come out looking really different from each other. If I put everything in one portfolio it’s going to look chop chop, but I also don’t want to let go of anything because I enjoy them all.

It’s one of those times when all the ugly thoughts of self-doubt quietly creep in and kind of just…stay for the party. I’ve been trying to block them all off with work and errands, but they lean over my shoulder every time I try to work………

I have no resolution for these…yet. Sigh. What does everyone else do with these kinds of feelings?

In the meantime, back to the drawing board because time waits for N O O N E. Going to put on some Ella and Louis and keep my head up~

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Filed under: most days

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graphic designer, illustrator, maker of things

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