When I was a kid, I was made to believe by my teachers, who knew better, that the arts would never be a viable career choice. Why? All of the starving artists. Yesterday, I heard a young man mention the concept of the starving musician, and I was reminded of how I felt being led to believe to think that the arts would not be a good “career path” (to be fair… it is hard, but the same is said for every specialized career/goal/venture).
It is because of the arts that I am able to do what I do. The arts has done more to fuel my love of science, language, communication, culture, math, religion, philosophy, technology, politics, sociology, and physics. I would be nowhere, absolutely fucking nowhere, without the arts. From music to theatre. From film to multimedia. From painting and drawing to designing and developing.
When my kids say “I want to be a video game designer”, or an “oboe player”, or “the guy that draws people on the sidewalk”, or “a vet who treats jellyfish” (because apparently that’s a thing), I smile and tell them “do it.” Don’t have a back up plan. Don’t have an alternate route. Go in with all your chips on the table, put them all on red, roll snake eyes, but do it. Stand on the edge of the cliff, cover your eyes, and jump. Don’t wait until you see a bridge. Jump.
I’m not saying it’s easy, or that everyone will make it. Sometimes you find a detour because you realized that maybe you want something different along the way. Maybe you give up on being a professional, and you would much rather do it for fun. Maybe you go full gear, and you burn yourself out. It happens. But, maybe you do make it. Or maybe you find something that you really connect with because of it. Or maybe you find that the passion for the arts lead you to be a lawyer, a doctor, or an entrepeneur.
Don’t have a back up plan, and don’t panic. It WILL turn out okay. These are words that I needed to hear growing up.
I’m not mad. I found my voice. I realized what I want to do (even on those days that I REALLY don’t want to do it). I don’t have a back up plan. I am scared about what will happen, but I don’t panic.
Without the arts, I would not be here. Without the arts, I would not be blessed with two wonderful kids who force me to see the world at a much different angle than most people. Without the arts, I would not fight dragons, fly spaceships, ride unicorns, and swim with sharks.
It is the arts and humanities that make life rich and wondrous. Business, sales, analytics? They just make it easier to count the benefits that the arts provide.
So be well. Draw something. Watch something. Write something. Take part in something. Commune with the miraculous. Innovate. Create. Enjoy. Don’t Panic. It will turn out okay if you let it.