This article originally appeared on Espresso and Endorphins and was syndicated to Thought Catalog.
Let me preface this post by saying I adore my new job.
Each day at work looks different for me – and I love the variety that my marketing position provides. Not to mention, I love that I get to work in such an up-and-coming area (social media, content creation/distribution, etc.) in an industry I love and am personally invested in. To top it all off, my job pushes my creative edge and my analytical thinking all at once.
However, despite the true enjoyment I get out of my daily work, I sometimes wonder what I am doing with my life and my career…and why I dropped my dreams so quickly after graduation two years ago.
Let me back up.
Yesterday, I checked my “On This Day” on Facebook (I love seeing what I was up to however long ago…), and found a photo of me in front of Diego Rivera’s famous Detroit Industry Murals at the Detroit Institute of Art.
And, I got really, really sad.
During my senior year of college, I took a class on Mexican Art and received a grant for my proposal to conduct research on Frida Kahlo. I used the grant to travel to Detroit, specifically to look at how her year in Detroit with Diego Rivera was the pivotal moment that changed and elevated her art. The DIA was having a special exhibit that spring with a ton of her artwork brought in from Mexico and the archives and library in the DIA were stockpiled with real letters between Frida and Diego, research and books I could use to my advantage. I spent three days poring over letters and books and crying in the exhibit, overwhelmed to see the pieces in person. I got to explore most of the DIA too (I couldn’t even make it through the DIA…even after being there for 3 days from open to close – eek!) and experience an amazing collection full of artists I admired.
The entire time I was in Detroit – I kept thinking to myself – this is what I should be doing; this is what I need to be doing. I had never (and honestly still have never) felt as fulfilled as I had in that museum, studying and learning, learning, learning. I knew in those 72 hours that I needed to pursue a career in art history or art business. Anything.
I came back to Nashville and proceeded to write a 40+ page paper (yikes!) on my research and then sat down with my professor, discussing how I knew I wanted a career in the arts. He told me how he went to college for physics and took one art history class his senior year and knew that was it for him. He said it was possible to change your “path” (art history was only my minor…I, like him, found it too late in my college journey), and I felt reassured that I could do it and glad to have someone back me up. He suggested pursuing graduate school and offered to give me some contacts at LA museums.
Well, now two years later, I work in marketing in the fitness industry.
So, after this enlightening, life-changing experience…and doing the first thing I’d felt really passionate about since I found running, really…why did I not pursue it? Did I let the fear of loans keep me away from applying to graduate school? Did I let my fear of rejection keep me from reaching out and asking for his contacts? Was I scared that my lack of museum experience/major in art history wouldn’t measure up? Did I realize that careers in art history…well, they don’t pay well?
I honestly don’t know. But yesterday’s revival of that picture and the subsequent feeling of fulfillment, joy, happiness – it has me questioning.
What am I doing? where did my dreams go?
I’ve always preached that you should follow your dreams and things work out the way they’re meant to. But, can you just up and change your entire path, your entire career a few years in? Do I want to?!
Yet again, I ask: what am I doing?