It's Been Quiet Around Here & So Have I

October 12, 2015

Outfit Details: Boots (via Old Navy) // Vintage Dress (thrifted from Grey Dog) // Jean Jacket (via Maurices) // Knee Socks (similar ones here)

I'm not here to offer you anything today. I'm not here to offer helpful resources, e-books, free downloads, tips'n tricks, or webinars. I'm not going to share my artwork, favorite links, any beauty products I swear by, or anything else for that matter. Today is the day for an old fashioned venting/life-update/self centered post if there ever was one.

I've been thinking a lot...about...about just so much. I've been thinking about creativity, branding, and side projects. Along the same vein I've also been thinking about how much there is to accomplish and all the pressure, both internal and external, to make things happen at such a young age.

I attended a design conference recently called Made by Few. It was my first time attending a design conference and to say I was excited was a huge understatement. I was lucky to discover it was in my home town and for months I dreamt about listening to each and every speaker. The former lead designer at Spotify made an appearance as well as the VP of Design at Etsy. Designers who worked with Nike and on presidential campaigns spoke for an hour a piece sharing what they'd learned along the way. Designers who decided to quit corporate desk jobs sang the virtues of freedom as they touted their most recent self-initiated projects. Doers, makers, and shakers all stood up there and embodied everything and more that you would think of when you think "designer." So much of their success was equal parts perfect alignment with the stars and self assured ideation/follow through backed up by years of design training.

I felt more inspired and awed in those two days attending this design conference than I have in months since graduating college. Which is both a good feeling and a somewhat sad realization all wrapped into one.

In college you're (or at least I was) constantly being exposed to new designers, new work, new challenges, and new ways of thinking about things. You learn history - you master multiple crafts and somehow every craft I've ever tried to master has subtly influenced my design practice and vice versa. You're encouraged to explore and test limits regularly. You're invited to master what is the boundaries and what is not. You have access to so many things - equipment, professors, like-minded and equally talented peers. You're constantly pushed pushed pushed. This makes for the perfect storm of creativity and inspiration.

It's harder outside of the walls of academia, at least for me, to find my creative footing sometimes. I am luckily and happily employed as a graphic designer. My degree has not gone to waste! My Adobe programs haven't been shut in weeks! Also, since I work for a start-up I have gallons of freedom as well. I get to experience that entrepreneurial start-up space and community without the fear of not knowing where my next paycheck will come from. I have it so good and I am so lucky. I know this and acknowledge it. Therefore, perhaps I feel like it's unjust of me to disclose any kind of creative doubt or dissatisfaction.

However, design when done for a job sometimes loses it's creative flair. It becomes, in a sense, very automated at times. You work within the same brand guidelines, with the same dimensions, and the same colors day in and day out. It's endless reiteration (which, don't get me wrong has undoubtedly contributed to my design knowledge and skill-set, but sometimes isn't the most inspiring of all creative endeavors). In addition designing all day doesn't exactly lead to much willingness to continue designing after the 9-5 hours are up. It's semi-frustrating.

I feel like I have all this creative drive and all these ideas for side projects, but I feel stuck and stalled. Low motivation is killer. I feel the weight of needing to accomplish something on my shoulders which is a tough feeling to wrestle with. There are no A+'s in the adult world to be handed out every other week like tests and papers were in school. Successes and accomplishments come in short bursts after long burning grinds of daily effort. I'll be 23 soon, and though that's not considered old in any way, I feel like I should've done way more by now. It's maddening to feel so much creative potential inside of you and continue to live in a state of such empty-handed anxiety driven panic when it comes to personal projects/endeavors.

I'm finding it hard to balance the equally stirred desires of stability and reckless abandon within me. Parts of me want to curate a quiet, familiar life with an impeccably decorated home and a happy marriage. I'd be happy - no doubt. Yet, when I feel myself cling to the comfort and stability of a bi-weekly direct deposit into my bank account part of my wild soul dies a little bit. Other parts of me want to abandon everything, go on a long solo road trip (because nearly every creative endeavor starts with some sort of road trip it seems), open a "studio" and create artwork hours on end.

I feel like what I do in my twenties matters so deeply. The steps I take and the path I choose is so damn important that I often feel myself floundering when it comes to big choices. I always feel like I should be doing more...pushing myself harder to accomplish more before my both energy, boldness, and youth run out simultaneously.

With that being said though, I know I must savor the small success of adulthood while I patiently work through the creative ones. I know I must celebrate getting dinner on the table and sticking to budgets and getting the electric bill paid on time. I must celebrate getting enough sleep and supportive boyfriends and getting the laundry done. I must celebrate Saturdays spent at Target and roaming vintage markets and reading a few chapters of a book I keep putting off. I must celebrate dusting off the camera after seven months in storage and taking pictures of myself even though I don't necessarily love the way I look or where I shot them at. I must celebrate even getting this blog post up because this blog in itself has been a continuous side project for me (and one of the many that need a little more attention and effort).

I know it's all about small steps and about putting the time and work in. Some days I'm good and other days I'm worse. Regardless, I'm happy to be trying and so happy to be so self-aware.


Thanks for letting me vent. I promise in the coming days I'll be posting happier content that is probably of some use to you...fall printable anyone?

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