Meanwhile on a website somewhere...
It was a beautiful day just like any other...
The sun was shining and people loved me! [No it wasn't and no they didn't]
Let me explain.
In the middle of 2017 I realised I hated myself. [True] ...nothing went right. I'd have been a developer/programmer for almost 8 years and felt like I had achieved absolutely nothing. Day in day out I would learn complex coding bits and bobs and about how algorithms worked and attempting to build the next new hit app that would make me filthy dirty rich. Also, I wanted to save the world. Connecting the two wouldn't have been a challenge at all had I solved the first issue. I digress.
For 8 years I had worked on my craft. I had done everything I was supposed to. I had worked hard and tried to become a better version of myself everyday. I had some bad experiences with a company I worked for. And I just felt like I was paddling as hard as possible in what seemed like still waters only to not be moving. I swear to God it had almost felt like I had moved backwards a bit. And you know what else? I couldn't even see signs of splashing in said water. No ripples whatsoever. I mean how badly do you have to fail at impacting the world in any way shape or form that there aren't even signs of the water being disturbed?!
Yes I know how to paddle. Shuush.
So suddenly I find myself saying, maybe I don't want to be a developer anymore. Perhaps something else would suit me better and allow me to be happy. Because feeling like you're worth absolutely nothing is definitely not worth doing for the rest of your life, no matter how much it felt like it. I did everything to make sure it wasn't the case either. I sat down to contemplate this for an entire day and came to the conclusion that no matter how much I enjoyed writing code, no matter how much I enjoyed digitally building something, I wasn't happy. I had been constantly fooling myself.
I even challenged myself to look at things logically to ensure I wasn't just being lazy and or running from my problems, that no matter how hard things got I shouldn't be giving up, and this was an easy way out. But I decided that even with people who find something tough to go against, if that is what they love doing then they are happy in the moment they are doing it and welcome the challenge to end up somewhere better. I found that while I did enjoy coding, I wasn't enjoying the challenges I came across at all. It should be mentioned that the challenges had nothing to do with writing code, but everything to do with software development.
Even during the main project I was working on back in day, I found something interesting when I looked at everything honestly. That during the times the creative portion of the projects came up, such as shooting photos or working on a small Photoshop project, that was when I got excited the most. That was when life had sprung back into action when I got the chance to do those little things. After looking at this situation honestly, it suddenly dawned on me, "What if this is what you'd rather be doing? What if you enjoy coding, but not as much as you love creating?".
I left the project. Almost immediately. I finished up what I could and did the handover as peacefully as I could. After all, the people I was working with were my friends and I didn't want to screw them over, even though I basically just screwed them over to concentrate on my future.
After all this happened I sat down to look at my options and what I really wanted to do. No more restrictions. No more looking at things logically first, no more looking at things realistically first. The previous generation really screwed with my mind telling me all the things I wasn't allowed to do due to being more realistic about life. Instead, I looked at everything I wanted to do, then began to explore them logically and realistically.
Had I been given the support to do something more creative, it would have been realistic, but instead they created the scenario that allowed them to be able to say, "See? Being realistic pays the bills!". And that was the shittiest thing about that. What is the point in being able to pay the pills when you're still miserable?
I took matters into my own hands and began perusing through everything I wanted to do. I kept going back to animation and 3D design and wanted to know more about that. I had dabbled in it back in the day when I had some free time, to see what I could come up with, but honestly didn't know enough. I looked through a few websites, until I landed on a website for a school called Media Design School. I signed up for the intro package to learn more about the school and get some more information for the classes that interested me.
Now there was a small moment that I nearly gave up, due to not being able to download the prospectus of the school. I know it seems petty, but at this point there were so many things in the air that I just didn't know which direction I had settled on taking. The link I was sent after signing up wasn't working correctly, so I just let it sit. At this point I had just enquired about some information and nothing exciting was happening. And so I continued adrift unable to pick a direction as I had decided on doing some more exploring to see what I could find. I hadn't a clue everything was about to change.
The Phone call
A week later I get the best phone call of my entire boring, pointless and mediocre life.
When someone normally says it was the best phone call of their life, they normally mean to say that someone called to tell them they had the job, or that they won some money, or that some family member that they didn't know existed just bought the farm and now they have an inheritance to play with. But not in this case. I categorised this phone call as the best, because of how it happened, and what it ended up doing for me.
The call started off normal. The pleasant voice of someone introducing themselves and being polite was expected. She then moved onto telling me a bit more about the school and after gathering what I was after she moved into more detail about the classes. After telling me about how the school does things and how good it would be for me to attend classes there we somehow got onto the topic of age and how it was never too late to begin doing what we have always wanted, despite how things have turned out in life.
We began speaking in more abstract terms bouncing more and more ideas behind time and how it is relative to us all and that we should fill that time doing things we love rather than just things we 'have' to do because life demands it. There was no stopping us at that point. The spirit of creativity and adventure had taken hold of us and we were no longer running but flying. You remember that pleasant voice I mentioned? Well, the pitched had changed, the speech had accelerated and there was new life in the voice, rather than just a professional phone call voice. She was just as excited about this conversation as I was!
You see, that phone call was supposed to last 15 minutes at the most to give me some more information and answer any questions I had. Instead, 45 minutes had passed without us even realising and there was something new that had begun to grow in me. A life I never thought I would be able to have, much less know that I could just take it for myself.
There was one hiccup that I needed to solve before I would be able to attend to this new school. After finding out that it was all sorted, my excitement was at an all time and high. I began structuring which classes I wanted in order to follow the path that I wanted. I began moving things around in life to ensure that nothing would get in my way. However there was one problem that I didn't see coming, and that was the fact that the school was full-time only and they suggested to never take on part-time work as it will get in the way from past experience. That the school was designed like this to ensure students got the idea of what it will be like in the real world, working full-time hours which left no time for another job, because the classes were just as difficult. At my age, income was essential and I wouldn't be able to ask someone to take care of me for 3 years while I did this. There was just no way I could put that on anyone else. I had already done that with parents getting my Computing Degree. I couldn't ask for more.
But do you understand what happened next? I was upset, but I wasn't angry. I was slightly down, but not sad at all. That 45 minute phone call? Had done something to me. It had changed me. It had ignited a fire that was never going to go out and then my mind began to look for new solutions. It had never done that before. Normally when something gets taken from me and I was absolutely looking forward to it, I turn as a person entirely. Short fused, angry in general and 'screw life' attitude because lets face it, I'm a fully grown man who reverts to being a teenager when sad and upset.
However. I decided that this new life, I was going to take regardless. Yes, so I couldn't go to this school that I really wanted to go to. I couldn't live my dream of becoming a 3D builder and animator. But you know what I could still do? I could do something else that I always wanted to do. You see 3D and animation was a small part of the source. I've always enjoyed telling stories. I've always wanted to be a writer. And that took a hold of me. But there were so many ways to tell stories. After some time thinking about it I landed on 3 things that made me the most happy when I did them: writing, photography and Photoshop art. The 3 most awesome ways, in my opinion, to tell stories.
Yes there is film making, but that was going to be more time-consuming to start with, and there is no reason I can't add that to my list in the future. For now, I needed something that would be relatively less time-consuming to get into, but still allow me to do something creative as a career. Notice how I didn't say that it would be easier to do this rather than film making. Because none of this was or is easy.
October 2017 was when this blog was born. I began to write as much as I could and I went back to reading like I used to. I had stopped for some stupid reason, but that had all changed. Towards December 2017 I had begun taking more and more photos as well, learning everything I could about photography and the basics of taking images as well as editing them.
I sent the most unorthodox email back to the person who helped start all of this in me. And she didn't even mention anything about the fact that I wouldn't be able to attend. Instead, there was nothing but encouragement and more peeking into the future that was going to be awesome.
It is now April 2018 as I'm writing this. Thinking back on everything that has happened. Everything that I have planned. There is no sign of stopping. Sure, I feel I should have been a little further then I wanted by now. But maybe I am exactly where I need to be. The biggest thing I had to realise is that I've never stuck to something for this long before. I never had anything like this that didn't feel like work I didn't want to be doing. I thoroughly enjoy it.
In the last 6 months, I've managed to have my images viewed by roughly 885,000 people. Yeah, you read that right. I'm aiming for a million soon, just as something to have a goal. But never would I have ever expected this kind of reception to my photography. My blog is going strong and my posts are engaged with every time I release a post, or at the very least, liked by my regular followers and always some new ones. My Instagram following is slowly building, despite them having changed all the rules about how people see images. Overall? This new journey is going awesomely. Obviously there is plenty to do and plenty to work on, especially income, but it is still rolling nicely. It almost makes me just a little angry that I didn't do this earlier and to think where I could have ended up by now.
A reason for everything. Everything in its place.
As a person whose soul is now on fire with a hope for a future where I don't have to be miserable anymore? I can only give you one piece of advice. After all, if you made it this far reading this, I figure I should share that with you by now:
Nobody controls you. Nobody can tell you what you do or not need to do. Your life, your time belongs to you, and only you. If you've just been drifting through life thinking this is all there was and that there is nothing else for you, because it would seem to unrealistic to go after the things you want, that is just your fear and uncertainty talking. That is your comfort zone lying to you about the kind of happiness you're allowed to have.
Assume command of your own life as fast and as completely as you can. Because it is yours to begin with. Then create a list of everything it is that you would ever want to do and list them in priority order. Then just begin from the top and work your way down in a realistic fashion. Yeah that's right, doing what you want is realistic as long as you execute realistically. Make the time to make what you want, yours.
Because only you can.
I'm also leaving this piece of advice here for myself. My imposter syndrome is strong. I cannot figure out why. But from what I'm capable of, and the feedback people give me? It doesn't make sense for me to think of myself as incapable when clearly I am. This isn't ego. This is new-born confidence. There is a difference. And I'm leaving this here for those days when I feel like I'm not going to get anywhere, so I can come back here accidentally browsing my failed work, so that I can remind myself why I started this in the first place. That this isn't about failure or success. It is about happiness and contentment in the soul. It is about meaning for self in what could be a pointless life.
It is about the future.