It’s really, really hard to keep doing your own thing when no one around you understands what you are doing, or why you are doing it, right?
Maybe it’s your creative choices. Maybe it’s your refusal to have a “real” job.
Whatever it is, the people who you live with don’t get it.
What they don’t understand is that your creative process, or your freedom, or your need to make something that matters (or whatever your reason is) is more important to you than security, and they cannot make that make sense.
It reminds me of something Charles Bukowski once said:
“I have one of two choices—stay in the post office and go crazy…or stay out here and play writer and starve. I have decided to starve.”
That decision to starve is what they will never understand.
When I started my business, it wasn’t because I was particularly passionate about helping other people manage their businesses and websites.
It was a necessity. I needed to make money, and stay home with my kids, and pay off my debt.
But what it gave me, after the debt was paid off, was a taste of the freedom that could be achieved by controlling my own destiny.
Once the debt was paid off, I could have closed the doors and just gone on my merry way, because being a housewife isn’t that bad for a lot of people.
But for me, the boredom would have been too much.
Creating a business, even if it wasn’t initially as a creative endeavor, was all the taste of creation that I needed to make me realize that I needed to make things.
One interesting thing I should tell you is that prior to starting my business, I never really thought of myself as being particularly creative.
I’ve always been a writer, since I was a kid. And I love art classes and making things.
But if I had to label myself, it wouldn’t be as a creative person.
I was wrong.
I may not be a world-class artist or writer or anything else, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not constantly making something.
Whether it’s writing a book, or a blog post, or making dinner, or baking, or making actual art that is hanging on my walls, or experimenting with a butane torch with pen fittings – I’m never not doing something creative.
And I bet that goes for you too.
There’s this quote from “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” (the movie and the book) by Maria Semple that really made me realize how important it is to me to always be making things, and that if I’m not, I wreak havoc on my own life – and I bet it applies to you too.
“People like you must create. If you don’t create, you will become a menace to society.”
The people around you don’t have to understand why you are doing what you are doing. Especially if you are able to sustain yourself on your own, or provide a decent living for yourself + whoever else you need to support.
But you DO need a support system.
Stop looking to the non-creatives (or creatives who just don’t know who they are yet) around you and expecting them to understand. They won’t.
Instead, seek a community of people who are also creative and let them be the support that you’ve been seeking.
Don’t give up. Don’t give in. And remember, it’s better to spend your life doing what you love than dying with a million regrets.
How do you keep yourself going when everyone around you acts like you are crazy? Share your tips in the comments.
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