By Thea Estraza
What do we need to prioritize in order to gain happiness and success in life? Passion or career? I’m sure some of us, if not all, have asked ourselves this question before. Whether or not we thought about it in passing or in depth is all up to what stage in life we are in. It could be something as simple as a child imagining what he wants to become when he is a little bigger or it could be something as life changing as a high school graduate contemplating the college he’ll be applying to next school year. It could even be you, a student reading a random article without much thought but with a nagging feeling of anxiety at the back your mind. Did I choose my path right?
It’s a generalized opinion that in the fast-paced world we live in today, passion and career are two separate aspects of an individual’s life. If we look at things simply, a career is something we regard with a stiffness of a professional. It can be categorized as solely our ‘job’ or a task that we do mindlessly to get to a certain goal or reward. On the other hand, the term ‘’passion’’ brings a certain flare of excitement to most. It is generally an idea or hobby that we would often enjoy indulging or participating in. However, that’s as far as our black and white lenses can go when it comes to differentiating the two in simple terms. In reality, both career and passion are ideas that are not tightly bound to the built-up assumptions of the majority of people.
As a freelance illustrator, it wasn’t uncommon for me to be exposed to other people’s preconceived assumptions regarding my job. The comments I received were often something like ‘drawing isn’t profitable’ or ‘you can’t earn money from that, it’s just a hobby’. These words used to leave me uncomfortable and anxious but now, it just gives me a feeling of pride knowing that I overcame the insecurities these comments gave me. Creating and being an artist is my passion and in turn, the career I chose for myself.
One thing I learned in my journey of pursuing my chosen path in life is that our passion and our career don’t have to be separated at all. We are in a day and age where being an online influencer is a job and a graphic artist can earn hundreds of dollars a month. Becoming a doctor or a lawyer isn’t the only choice left for us to choose anymore. We don’t have to be an engineer to provide for our family and we don’t have to be an accountant to become successful. We don’t have to be forced into a mold that we don’t want to fit into. The society we live in today isn’t as limited as it was generations before where being a successful businessman is the only way for you to earn a substantial amount of money. The stereotypes we were exposed to growing up are not relevant to the current world we are living in. With that said, we are free to choose the path the we believe in, regardless of other people’s opinions.
Of course, that is not to say that the path leading up to our goals would be smooth. We will still be facing difficult challenges but these are obstacles that we will have to power through to prove to ourselves that this is what we really want in life and that we can make our aspirations work. I won’t lie and say that being an artist is as exciting as I dreamed it would be. It’s not as amazing as the stories of not being tired of your job all because it’s your passion. I get tired too, I get frustrated, and I still doubt myself from time to time. But whenever it became too overwhelming for me, I would let myself pause and think- where would I like to be five years from now? And every time, I would imagine myself still drawing. That’s when I realized, I chose well.