I have too many interests. I find everything fascinating. Anyone who knows me would agree with that.
Yet, for years I worked in one field, very narrowly focused, ignoring those little itches that needed scratching. In air-conditioned, open-concept offices and carpeted cubicles I wrote programming code to fulfill client requirements.
In mid-2009 that all changed: I quit my software development job with no idea of what I was going to do.
I knew I needed a change, that was all. There was a little money in the bank and some ideas in my head.
Within a couple months the ideas had gone nowhere and the money was running out. I found another position (albeit a contract one this time) that took me up to 2011.
Then, some funds again in the bank, my fiancee and I went to New Zealand for a year. The best year of my life.
Being completely separated from my previous life was the best thing I could have done. I took on roles that I wouldn’t have even considered before, like becoming an “inmate” in NZ’s oldest prison (now a tourist facility). While there I was a tour guide, sometimes informing groups of 30-40 people about the jail’s history. It was way outside my comfort zone.
I had no idea what I was going to do after we got back to “real life” and I was okay with that. Since our return I’ve slowly evolved a freelance career in multiple fields that continues to grow and change each year.
Before NZ I thought I was done with IT work completely. But I realize now that it wasn’t the work I didn’t enjoy, it was the format of that work. The 9-5 (if I was lucky) days chained to a desk, with lunch and breaks at specific times. The corporate culture. Those things weren’t me.
But wanting to help customers solve their problems, yes, that was definitely me. I want to make my customers’ days easier, I want to make their businesses and processes more efficient. And now I get to do that in a way that helps them and helps me too. It’s a much better relationship.
I realized, too, that it was time to scratch those itches that kept nagging me.
Ever since I can remember I’ve doodled and made up stories. I’ve picked it up from time to time and then put it aside again and again. It’s part of that “too many interests” problem I have.
Now I’m trying to embrace the things that excite me.
That’s where writing and illustration come into play. Some ideas lend themselves to a short story, some to a children’s picture book and others to a t-shirt design. Instead of trying to shoehorn my ideas into one medium I’m letting them tell me what form they want to take.
It’s about the projects and the products that come from them. I don’t know what I’ll create next year but I’m always going to aim for things that are important to me and excite me.
So each day I’ll continue to try and add value to other peoples’ lives through my work. And I’ll feed my diverse interests, reading and travelling, learning new things about the world and myself each day. The journey will, hopefully, be long, with many interesting turns.
I hope you’ll join me.
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