When I was a young boy, I never really knew what I wanted to be when I ‘grew up’, because I wanted to be everything. Let loose to explore the Columbus Metropolitan Library as a child, I found endless books and magazines that showed me the world at its best.
I’m deeply appreciative to my parents, who supported me by encouraging me to learn as much as I could about the world. With their guidance, I built a fascination for the world and all the different ways I found it could work. Technology, automobiles, nature always piqued my curiosity, and I dreamed of creating a life that would ‘have it all’ someday.
Now 34 years-old, I often think back to those days of wonder I experienced as a child. Often, I find joy in knowing the sense of wonder hasn’t been left in the rear-view mirror, but carried forward into my adult life.
One of the things I’m most grateful for is having a schedule that works in stride with my emotional and mental capacity for each day. I’d go absolutely nuts if I had to sit in an office for 40 hours a week and ask permission to take a vacation. Every day I wake up as an entrepreneur, I am thankful for the time I receive – and get to spend – that day.
Even at this age, I can look at the journey life has been and share with you that it hasn’t been an easy road. As a person, son, entrepreneur, artist and human being, much of this journey has felt like an uphill battle, and I’ve often wondered when I’ll get a break and catch a glimpse of the summit I’ve been climbing to reach.
The last two years of my life have been full of their own unique challenges, as I’ve navigated living abroad, restarting a dead business, having a child and navigating through a maelstrom of personal challenges. Sometimes I feel worn down to the point of exhaustion, and I simply ask God “Why?”
“So that you could find me. In your pain as much as your joy. In the cold of night like you see me in the sunrise. In the pain of betrayal as much as you feel my warmth in love.”
I’ve spoken with a lot of people this year who are going through painful situations in their life. Usually, it’s a combination of work/personal challenges. But the overall consensus is “things are different now, and I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do…”
I felt this question a lot this year, as I’ve wondered if being an agency owner is the thing I really want to do, or if it’s simply a part of my journey as a creative entrepreneur. For whatever reason, I seem to have a natural ability to work in this sort of industry and deliver great results for my client family. Despite it being ‘cold’ technology – I really love the magic and creativity that can be expressed in something as monotonous as a spreadsheet – or funnel.
I’ve balanced this occupation with creative endeavors, such as my artwork. Somewhere in the middle, there seems to be a happy balance where I have the time and space to create beautiful things, while applying that same ethos to the ‘day job’ client work throughout the day.
All this to say, I feel a true turning point in my life, business, and creative endeavors. Life feels a new sense of purpose when I look around at my occupation(s) as well as my obligations(s) and see the opportunity to artistically weave myself between the two.
For the last few months, I’ve been piecing together a plan to sell my artwork, as well as promote myself as an artist. It has been a battle to face my own fears and doubts about putting my work more in the public eye. However, it struck me the other day that I am an artist, and it’s ok to identify as one.
I love creating. I mean, I love creating. I love the feeling of creating a huge mess on a canvas and watching as it comes to life; much like my own journey in life. I love making BIG, BEAUTIFUL strokes of color and watching them dance with the other colors.
I love making my paintings “too much” because I’ve learned that just like me, they aren’t for everybody. I don’t think they’re ‘too much’ – but ‘more than enough’.
I love waking up and seeing artwork on the walls instead of bare spaces. I love seeing how the colors light up a room with vibrance, emotion and expression.
Most of all, I love it when I hold up Atlas to a painting and see his eyes light up as he stretches his hands out to touch the canvas of his Dad’s work.
I could go on for days about the things I love, and have experienced through artwork. Truly.
Like all things in life, nothing comes free. Before I ever found freedom in my business, I fought through years of financial difficulty. And it wasn’t until I consciously chose to buy paint instead of groceries (in an earlier stage of my artistic journey) that I truly understood what it meant to create – and crave it as much as you do food.
If there is anything I could tell to a younger self, or to somebody who is going through a difficult chapter in their life, it’s this:
There’s a reason for the season, as well as a turning point where you will harvest your tears. Don’t quit.