Why I chose commitment over comfort in my work.

I turned 59 years old this past week. I live a comfortable, intentionally uncomplicated life in Colorado, and thankfully, I’m fortunate in that I can say I really don’t want for much.

From comfort…

This past May, I decided to leave a job I really enjoyed because I felt that I needed to do so. To whoever is reading this, it’s fair to wonder, wait…what? Or think maybe something else is going on. But that’s not the case. I loved my job. The work was meaningful, and I was appreciated for who I am, and for the quality of my contributions to my former employer’s mission. My colleagues are smart, engaged, and committed people. And I was paid well. But, honestly, I knew something was missing.

I just knew that if I didn’t pursue what I’m most passionate about, now, in this moment, I may never do so. I love design, and being immersed in the oftentimes messy, and unpredictable world of creative work. I always have. It’s past time I returned to it.

I’ve done this before. Leave a good job to follow a dream. And I think about that. The first time, I was in my early thirties. Then, I cashed out the little bit of retirement savings I had, and started my own architecture practice. For a while things went really well. All the way up until the point they didn’t. The economy stumbled, and right before my eyes I watched everything I had built slowly collapse. Like air leaking from a balloon. Eventually, it was all gone. Just like that.

Luckily, I was able to get a job working for the city. At times, working for the city was crazy. But I’m thankful for that job, and the experience I gained. Working at the city was sometimes humbling, but it helped me put my broken dream back together. Flash forward almost 20 years, and I’ve managed to hold onto the vision that fueled my youthful enthusiasm.

To commitment

Living through the wrenching change of this global pandemic has provided me with time for a different kind of reflection. Coming into 2022, I decided that this year, I’m going to do exactly what I want to do. I’m going to use the talents, and skills I’ve been blessed with to work and live in a manner best suited to me. And what happens, happens.

To chronicle my journey, I’ve created this journal, which I’m calling Notes from a Creative World. I plan to cover a variety of design-related topics, from the perspective of a Black person with more than three decades design. At the most basic level, these notes will document my experiences committed to living the life I know I need to live. Beyond this, I’m hopeful I can positively impact someone else’s path, if they are in or are planing to pursue a career in design, or any other creative field. If by communicating my experiences pursuing my own dream I can help even one person to similarly follow their own, regardless of age or other circumstance, I’ll be very happy.

I’m no longer a young man. For me, time is my most precious resource. I’m not going to spend it just being comfortable. I know I’ve chosen the more difficult path. But, I also know I’ve got to do something more.

Thanks for checking in.

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