From a time I was allowed to shop for myself (15), I have loved the thrill of buying a piece of clothing at an attractive price. Yes, I love a good deal. It make the thrill even more exciting. You may call me a thrifty shopper. Back in those days, I never understood the people who bought things at full price, never ended wearing the thing, and eventually giving it away to Value Village with the price tag still on!
Fast forward 15 years later. I still love shopping. Only now, instead of shopping to get the deal and be proud of it, I ask myself “Do I really need that? Is it going to make me happy?”. 99% of the time, the answer is no. And I move on with life. Here’s why. I started noticing a pattern, I would buy things for the thrill of owning it and never wear it (shocker, I know). So I tried buying designer labels at full price or close to, with the hope that my happiness and appreciation would last longer. Fail. It felt the same as buying a clearance item. I also noticed, the more I bought, the more I kept thinking “I have nothing to wear”, a scant week after owing the thing. Realization quickly hit me, no piece of clothing can ever give me permanent happiness. The same principle applies for every other tangible item. With technology moving so fast these days, the cycle is moving even faster. This is why, as a graphic designer, I don’t own an Apple (Mac). I know, within a week of owning it, it’s beauty and fanciful features will desensitize me. It won’t take long for me to want the next big thing. Our constant need to “want” is never ending. We say, if I can have that…60″ TV for the basement, life will be amazing. The other 4 TVs you own haven’t satisfied you, why would this? This too shall pass.
I recall working as a full-time grphic designer for a company’s makerting department. I did not feel satisfied doing the same thing, for someone else, everyday. The thought of having to do that for the rest of my life was quite depressing. I kept thinking, “I could be doing other important things right now. Where is this going to lead me long term?”. I always knew I was easily replaceable, so really what is my motivation, besides steady pay? I’m not growing and I hated spending 5 days of my week, pinning for the weekend. So I decided to take the plunge, after my first born, and try this freelance designer thing. Like the shopping example, I wondered what IF I won’t be happy? What IF I am not successful as a freelance graphic and web designer? Will anyone hire me? More importantly, will I be able to provide for my family? After countless conversations with my very supportive husband (my blessing), and one very bad experience with a freelance client (that should’ve had me running like Joseph), I took the plunge and launched into full time freelance design.
It is safe to say, it has been one of the best decisions I have made. After a year, I realized, I couldn’t be happier. I get to spend time with my family, workout, attend BSF with my little one, pick projects I want to work on. My motivation/attitude/outlook on life is at it’s highest. It re-enforced the concept that happiness does not coming from owning the latest Apple product (please know, even though I don’t currently own an Apple product, I am a huge fan of the company) or a Marchesa dress (contrary to this picture). Happiness comes from finding a purpose and fulfillment in your day to day. It’s a realization that you will never “arrive”, but you can always be better than you are. Everytime you reach a new stage of “betterment”, or come out of a stressful situation, you find success. There are no words to describe the feeling when a client conveys their love for how the project turned out and how much they appreciate your efforts. It makes me want to be the best dang version of myself and fuels my passion for design.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. Steve Jobs