Happy Independence Day, friends! We’ve enjoyed a too hot and then too rainy day off, but a day off nonetheless. You’ll find me sitting on the couch for the rest of the evening wishing that every Wednesday was a day off, because it’s a great way to break up the week!
I’ve been thinking a lot about living the (American, haha) dream. Picture this: you’re cleaning the house and belting “A Whole New World” from Aladin, when your roommate jokingly comments, “Don’t quit your day job!” That one will never get old.
Really recently, one of my best friends decided to actually quit his day job in pursuit of his lifelong dream. When he approached me to tell me what he was up to, he first asked, “Will you judge me if I quit my job tomorrow?” I was sitting at my desk when I got this text message. Not a window in sight. Hammering away at a keyboard. I think the setting definitely amplified the sadness that his question made me feel.
Why are we programmed to feel judged for following our dreams?
Last winter, there were so many times that I wanted to take a day off of work so that I would have daylight to take photos for this blog. I would squash the notion the second it entered my mind because, why would I take time off from a job that pays me, to do work for a ‘hobby’ that doesn’t?
When I went to college, I immediately gave up dance, something I had done for hours and hours every week since I was two years old. Why would I continue to do something I love when I needed to work my part-time job and get good grades?
When I graduated college with a degree in Fine Arts, I immediately took the first full-time position I could land because the overarching consensus from everyone (hell, some of my professors even) was that my degree was useless.
Time and time again, I learned that giving up on my passions so quickly was a mistake.
When we vacationed in Florida during Blogmas, I was able to take great daylight product photos and those posts were some of the most viewed and well-received.
When I quit dance cold turkey, I almost immediately found myself in crippling back pain. After x-rays and physical therapy, I learned not dancing actually weakened my muscles significantly. I remember sitting in Art History class literally sobbing in the dark room because it hurt so badly to sit down. I went back to dance and my body and heart were magically healed.
Since I graduated in 2011, I have openly considered my degree as useless while watching Etsy flourish. While watching creatives on Youtube and Instagram make comfortable livings off of sharing their art.
Here’s what I’m getting at: Don’t be scared to chase your dream.
Will my dreams (writing, painting, dancing) always be secondary to a day job? Probably. And that’s okay. I’m incredibly fulfilled by my dreamy side hustles. But, late into my twenties, I’ve learned that I have nothing to lose by grinding like crazy to attain a life where my dream job is also my day job.
To all of you out there who have taken the risky leap of faith to face your dreams head on, I’m proud of you. Never stop chasing it.
xoxo Living the American Dream