Follow your dreams. It’s a great idea, right? Something we’d all like to do, a sentiment that you can probably imagine accompanied by some sort of inspiring photo, ready to put up on your wall. A nice concept, something we say we should do, but something that most of us don’t quite follow through on; maybe we don’t know how to do it, maybe we don’t even know what our “dream” is. And we’re probably a little too cautious to pack in our jobs and risk our rent payments, our mortgages, or even our families, on something that we don’t know will bring us success.
While I can’t speak on behalf of any other Webstock attendees, I think that this is why Elle Luna’s talk about “the crossroads of should and must” struck a chord with me - I love the idea of following my passion, but I don’t know how to start, I’m too nervous to commit fully to it. And I have a sneaking suspicion that I don’t really know what my passion actually is.
The premise of Elle’s talk was simple - in life, we can make a decision between doing what we “should” do, and what we “must” do - where your “must” is your passion or your dream (and the “should” is what you’re doing instead of that!). And the girl practices what she preaches; she left her job as a designer, bought a studio, and focussed on being an artist. For me, hearing about someone actually doing this, actually following through on “following their dream” was inspiring, amazing, terrifying.
While she has undoubtedly gone for the “all in” approach, one of the things she said about this really stuck with me. She said that you don’t need to pack in your job; people have mortgages, families, commitments, and for a lot of people the risk is too great to throw caution to the wind and commit fully to your “must”. But all of these people, every day, should be able to find 5 minutes, 10 minutes, half an hour if they’re lucky, in which they can commit time to their “must”. Writing it down now it sounds so simple, so obvious, but hearing someone actually say it made a little switch flick in my head. I can follow my dream, I just don’t have to do it all day every day. Spending half an hour a day on my passion is ok, it’s better than ok - it’s great. And if it builds up from there then so be it - but you have to start somewhere right?
So, throughout her talk I was sitting there thinking “Yes! Completely! Totally! Time to make time for my must”. Which is when I realised that I don’t even know what that is. “Not a problem” says Elle, wise creature that she is, “talk to your parents”. The premise here being that as a child, your life is weighted much more towards “musts” than “shoulds”, and by finding out what you spent your time doing simply out of pure enjoyment as a child, you are on the right track to rediscovering it as an adult.
Post Webstock, full of ice cream, beer, and endless motivation, I made a step in the right direction. I bought some pencils, some paper, and got out my old watercolours. Sure, I’m a bit rusty and I’ve done some very bad drawing in the past few weeks, but sitting in my little house in a patch of sun and creating something from nothing gave me a sense of contentment that did in fact remind me a little bit of being a child. And you know what, I think I might just commit to it, even if it is just for half an hour every few days.