5. reckoning with the creative path

Let’s talk about fairy tales. Happily ever afters. Fulfilled destinies. Good winning over evil. Let’s talk about dreams. Let’s talk about choosing a dream over something more secure and easily definable. And then, let’s talk about struggle. Let’s talk about hard work. Let’s talk about uncertainty and failure and falling off the horse because your knight in shining armor can’t fight your battles for you, and you have to pull yourself back up all on your own if you want to keep charging forward.

This is the creative path. Sure, it might sound romantic, wild, and free – and it certainly can be all of those things – but it will rarely always be all of those things all of the time. Heck, most of the time, we’ll just keep bouncing right on back to square one.

When I came to Nashville, I came for one reason – to work in the music business. I found a school that had a degree in its ever-changing ways, and I studied with professors who worked with everyone from Taylor Swift to Vince Gill. My academic advisor – the person whose job it was to guide me – was a former member of The Turtles, and he never remembered my name because, as he claimed, he’d done too many drugs in the ’60s. It was a fun time. It was a confusing time. Aside from knowing I wanted to work “in the business” and not on the stage, I didn’t really know where I was going to fit. I wanted to write songs, but those dreams were quickly crushed by an extremely introverted nature and the beast of comparison.

I figured things would line up the way they were meant to…eventually. If you went so far as to specifically study something as wild as the music business – they’d have no choice but to give you a job, right?

But it took almost 2 years to get a receptionist job on Music Row, and it didn’t take long for the glitter to chip off. I bounced around to different small businesses, gaining new skills and new strengths, until I found myself in 2020 not knowing where to turn next in the middle of a pandemic. There is no drop-down menu that gives me the option to state what I actually studied or what jobs I’ve worked. There is no job title to accurately express the variety of interests and curiosities I’d like to pursue. I’m on the creative path, and it’s full of uncertainty. But it’s certainly keeping things interesting.

Because when you have crazy creative dreams, you know that you will always have risk. You will live paycheck-to-paycheck (at least for a good long while). Your future will always be at stake, and you’ll have a high likelihood of never knowing what’s next. You will often be scared, stressed, and unfulfilled. You will always be seeking. Your mission will be simple and rooted in goodness, but that won’t make it easy.

(Sounds fun, right?)

The best part is, there’s no right or wrong way to go about it. There’s no 1-2-3 process to get you through it. The creative path is a personal choice and a personal struggle, and the only way to make peace with it is to admit that there will never be peace.

If it’s all you want to do, then you should do it. You should find a way to make it work, because that alone is worth more than settling for any old job you can get and accepting that as the end of things.

Success is always possible, in its own place and time.

All it takes is a little bit of perspective.

By which I mean, you have to learn to do it for you. Your happiness – your satisfaction – has to be enough. You have to learn to create the jewelry that you’d like to wear, and write the words that you’d like to read, and live the life that you’d most like to live. If you build it, they will come. Maybe just one-by-one, and maybe by the hundreds, but they will come.

And if they don’t, well, at least you met yourself right where you most needed to be.

OK – ready to dive into a life that is Simple + Good? You can always revisit these posts on the What IS Simple + Good page, and keep on journeying with me when you subscribe for all the latest updates!