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Gave up on my dream finally. But where to begin building a new life?

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  • #96211
    Ben
    Participant

    Hi guys. Firstly I apologise if this is in the wrong board, it could have gone in any number of boards so I chose the most active.

    So basically a few days ago I officially gave up on my dream of being an artist in the video games industry and right now for the first time I can remember I have no purpose or goal.

    I am 28 and since 14 I wanted to be in video games industry and most everything I did was to further this cause. I sort of succeeded but after 2 years in industry my company went under and I fell out of the bottom of the business. For the past year I have had a job as an artworker for a publishing company (not real artwork more like very basic infrographics at best). I intended to do art work in the evenings and on top of full time work and eventually get a job in games again. I did this for a year but recently decided that actually the games industry wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and may infact not be worth all the work I am putting in and I was sick and tired of putting life on hold while I did art work all the time.

    I have given up on my lifes dream which was hard and took a year to get to this point but I don’t feel too bad about that, what scares me right now is how do I go about picking my life now and deciding who I want to be and what I want to do?.

    I am totally aimless right now. My current job is stable and all in all I am ok but there are no prospects for progression in it at all and I know I wont be happy doing it forever. I want to do a job I am proud of but have no idea where to begin looking. About the only thing I don’t want to do is get sucked into another pointless university degree that leads nowhere and leaves me in debt. The other thing I am sort of sure about is that I want to leave art behind me, it is damn stressful and pays poorly.

    I am not feeling well right now and will update more later on but can anyone give me some advice where to begin building a new me? Thanks

    #96218
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ben:

    These are two separate things: who to BE and what to DO.

    Who to be? You already are you. Who is the you that you are? Young children don’t wonder about who they are: we, when we were young children, young enough, did not wonder who we were, we just were. Then came the adults in our lives and let us know overtly or covertly that who we were was just.. not quite right. This is where trouble started.

    Going back to an understanding of who we are, after we lost ourselves is a process I think of as a healing process or the healing path. A highly individual path that cannot be copied from one individual to another. You carve your own path like the artist that you are.

    Not the artist that has to accommodate a rigid, impersonal industry, like the gaming industry, but an artist free to do your own art as you are inspired, according to your motivation alone, your standards alone.

    Going back to what you were in the beginning is a path few take.

    What do you think about what I wrote so far?

    anita

    #96267
    Axuda
    Participant

    Hi Ben

    First of all, congratulations for giving your dreams a go, and for being prepared to acknowledge that they haven’t turned out as you had expected. There are many who would try to stick to it blindly and make themselves miserable in the process, forgetting that they only went into it in the first place to improve their overall happiness. You have been level-headed enough to see the dead-end in front of you, and have turned around to try another route – that’s why you can be confident you will make progress in the long run.

    It sounds as if you are now in a similar position to many people who have perhaps been made redundant, or who retire, and suddenly the driving force behind them has disappeared. It’s an incredibly stressful time, so don’t be hard on yourself. Fortunately you are at least still employed, so that should at least cover the necessities of life while you make up your mind what to do next.

    I think Anita’s comment about children is very relevant. Think back to the things you enjoyed doing when you were young. I’m guessing that there was a lot of art-related stuff, but write it all down anyway. Even though you no longer want to pursue the art route, it may point you to something even more fundamental which could help you determine what you really want to do.

    For example, one of the things I loved to do as a child, like many others of my age, was to build model plane kits. Was that because of an interest in building, or in creating something beautiful, or the peace and quiet it gave me away from my brothers? Or was it because of an interest in aviation, or in history, or in engineering? Or in painting, adhesives, or plastics? By listing the things you enjoyed, and then understanding what it was that you enjoyed about them, you may find some useful pointers.

    In the meantime, however, I would say don’t be too concerned about spending a bit of time drifting. People all around you survive perfectly well without any goals at all. You probably don’t want to do it forever, but for a short time it can be quite liberating. If you really feel you need something, create a goal to decide what you want to do by the end of the year. Then you can set abut researching, obtaining relevant information, contacting relevant people, etc. in exactly the same way as if you were pursuing a specific goal.

    If you are feeling unwell at the moment, take the opportunity to pamper yourself for a few days. Really indulge yourself in whatever makes you feel better. That alone will probably give you a lot of pointers to what makes you feel good, and you’ll feel a whole lot better for it.

    #96270
    Ben
    Participant

    Hi guys. Thanks for your support.

    I think the reason why I am ok with turning away from art is that it has been a slow decline for the past year. I have had to force myself to work on top of a full time job when what I really want is to spend time with my fiancé and wind down in the evening.
    Anita I agree with everything you said and I think the traditional artist would indeed want to go back to just doing their art but for me I think I want to turn my back on art all together. I was an ok artist but the stress of making something that is entirely subjective is quite intense (for me at least). I may in the future come back to it but for right now I just want a break from it.

    That is part of the problem for me as I always found art difficult but as I have done it for so long my identity is tied up in art and turning my back on it is really akin to cutting a big part of myself away.

    This sounds daft but I feel very much like because I set my sights on this at such a young age I never fully developed in many ways as an adult. I didn’t allow myself to develop interests outside of my study area and never considered other careers or industries other than the digital creative fields. I haven’t even passed my driving test or motorcycle test because I always put them off with the mentality of ‘I’ll do that after I’ve achieved XXX’.

    Axuda thanks for your kind words. I have started writing things down as you suggested. I am doing so without any thought for where they could take me just getting ideas. There are a lot, way more than I expected and I am surprised by some of them such as psychology, philosophy, economics and so on (even writing which I never would have said I like). I do however find myself paralyzed with indecision that almost every job that isn’t art in video games looks boring and mind numbing as well as fear that any job I choose requires qualifications I do not have and have no desire to get and thus incur more tuition fees (not to mention just get churned back up amidst a world of younger graduates with the same qualifications).

    When I start to think about what I could do and then what it would take to get qualified for those roles and still have the chance of being in the same position with that choice as I was with art I just get in a panic. It feels very much like every possible job is already glutted with candidates and shrouded in so much red tape that its almost impossible to break in.

    I never really appreciated how much stress is involved with having too many choices and possibilities.

    Thanks
    Ben

    #96284
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ben

    You are welcome. Hope you discover more and more.. but gradually, so you don’t get overwhelmed with ‘too many choices and possibilities”- slowly, gradually, one step at a time. You don’t have to figure it all at once.. actually, I don’t think it is possible. Hope you post again!

    anita

    #96304
    Axuda
    Participant

    Hi Ben

    I’m glad that your lists are churning out a lot of ideas, but I understand how easy it is to become overwhelmed. I have the same issue myself – so many business ideas that it becomes incredibly difficult to focus on one without part of me thinking “But what about the others?”. I’m at the stage where I have more than enough ideas to keep me busy for the rest of my life, and beyond! But that is much better than the alternative – imagine how it would feel if there was nothing you could think of.

    Once you’ve got as much as you can onto your list, the issue will be to narrow it down to target the relevant things. Now, I can completely identify with the red tape and qualifications issue – it often feels as if every possible obstacle is put in the way of anyone achieving anything. But what I would say from experience is, don’t worry about that at too early a stage. In other words, don’t let the qualifications and red tape issue dictate your decision – make your decision and then deal with it. To use an extreme example, if you decided you wanted to become a heart surgeon, there would be a lot of red tape and qualifications involved. But if it’s what you really want to do, you’ll see it through as it will simply be part of the education process that you have decided you enjoy, and you will have the necessary motivation.

    As an example of red tape and qualifications in action, I am now having to take a qualification in my profession. I hadn’t taken it before, for the simple reason that I devised and wrote it in the first place, more than 15 years ago, so I couldn’t – I would have been examining myself. But now, the regulator says everyone must have the qualification to do the job, so I have to take it. So I get what you are saying exactly! But if you treat it less as a qualification, and more an issue of learning about something that you are really interested in, it will be less daunting.

    Also, never forget that every job has its boring aspects. Many, many years ago I played in a rock band at University. I spent half my time setting up and taking down my drum kit, had hours of practice on my own, and even had difficulty getting the free drinks (which is all we were paid) from the bar because the barman couldn’t see me at the back of the stage. So when I left University and our guitarist asked me if I wanted to go touring with him, it didn’t really appeal. I also did a bit of motorcycle racing, which sounds exciting, but in reality was an hour or so of excitement surrounded by 47 hours of utter, mind-numbing boredom and red tape. So the boring stuff will always be there – it’s just a matter of whether you are prepared to go through it to get the rewards of the good bits.

    But as I said before, don’t rush, take your time and consider your options carefully. Keep looking at your list, and there will be certain ones that you keep being drawn back to again and again, and others that you decide are never going to make it to the top of the pile. The answer will come.

    #96583
    Ben
    Participant

    Hi guys, thanks for your responses.

    I have been listing things like crazy this week. Things I like things I don’t like, subject sI would like to study regardless of where they could take me (if anywhere) as well as things I have learned from my past career choices and things I liked/didn’t like about my experiences. It comprised of about 4 sides of A4 in very broken English and very scribbled handwriting.

    There are a lot of emotions flying around right now regarding past choices. I resent my situation right now but cannot regret chasing my previous dream. I feel very much like a failure but keep reminding myself that it was a choice to let it go and that due to my work experiences and work/life balance I had outgrown it a while back I just didn’t want to face it.

    As for what I do right now I am at a loss still. I didn’t expect the lack of work to hit me so hard I am going mad with free time and its only been a week. I love video games but they are supposed to enhance life and make it better not BE your life. I need something to do but don’t want to rush things on a rebound. If this was my partner in my shoes I would say focus on work, its not great but see where it leads. The problem there is there IS no progression in my job so that goes out of the window, nor is there anything to be learned here as I am already overqualified for the role which is why it was I out of the 70+ applicants who got it. I could have done this job straight out of school at 16…

    This is another of my great fears is that I get comfortable here and in 20 years they fire me for some reason and I am left with no skills and too old to do anything. This fear gets my heart racing and palms sweaty.

    I don’t think I will be happy at my current work, I need to gain some new skills. I would love to get a job at a company I can focus on and work my way up but those jobs seem ridiculously few in number. Not to mention I am very poor with office politics and feel I wouldn’t merge well with large companies.
    A part of me wants to just get away from offices all together and do something manual. The only other job I’ve always wanted was military but thats out of the questions now I am getting married so I was looking at police or fire service. Unfortunately both very hard to get into due to number of applicants and in this economy the police aren’t hiring and the fire service only recruit when a current fireman retires.

    I am being melodramatic due to my mood but it feels very hopeless.

    Do you think I am being silly worrying so much about the future? My fiancé thinks I am panicking myself too much but I just don’t know. I am debating whether I should go see a careers counsellor but as I do not have much money it feels like a waste of time. Especially since I don’t have a career to begin with.

    Sorry for whinging, its very therapeutic.

    Thanks for your time.

    Ben

    #96599
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ben:

    You mentioned a few times how scared you are and your fiance thinks you are panicking. Fear does not allow good thinking. Try to relax. Actually you have to find a way to relax. A whole day, a few days… you need to relax. Fear creates brain fog that does not allow you to see clearly, and the more you think the more the fog stirs and stays. Relaxing will clear the air in your brain, allowing you to think clearly.

    Simply, relax then think. Let your fiance comfort you, help you relax. Tell her (she knows) how much you need to relax and let her help you!

    anita

    #97069
    Ben
    Participant

    Hi!
    Still on a roller coaster of emotions (granted its only been a few days) but I’ve been thinking about stuff and still think I made the right choice in stepping away from 3D art and video games. I feel quite positive right now. I have been looking into things that I gave up for digital art, namely my motorcycle test (which should be soon) and training brazilian Jujitsu. All things that I put off or gave up to make time for art.

    I couldn’t help but panic about the future Anita, I tried just relaxing but I have too much free time! I’ve decided that if I can’t have the dream job I wanted then I will try and work towards something that has good pay at least and maybe something I can do without needing extra tuition. As it turns out there is quite a demand in my area for web developers and designers and even better you can learn it at least to a base proficiency without proper tuition. It also gives me avenues to still use my art abilities too if I go the designer route. And whats more learning to code has been on my to do list for a few years I just never got round to it.

    I’m not setting goals or anything but it cheers me up no end to at least have an idea of what direction to take my life and it gives me something to learn too. I am not forcing myself to study like I did with art, just going to give it an hour here and there until I decide if I have a taste for it or not.

    So feeling quite positive right now. Still up and down but I am keeping everything relaxed as much as possible and its sort of working. I am going to the doctors soon though as I think due to stress I have a rushing sound in my left ear which has been here for 2 weeks. Finally had enough of it!

    I will keep posting on here as it helps to record my thoughts now and then. Thanks for al your support I really appreciate it.

    #97074
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ben:

    i wonder if the roller coaster of your recent life is the reason for the rushing sound in your left ear?
    anita

    #97350
    Ben
    Participant

    I am going to go with stress. The doctor said my blood pressure is abnormally high :/

    #97354
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ben:

    Having just replied to your other thread I wonder if indeed postponing the wedding is a good idea, for the purpose of lowering your stress level…May be way too much: the work situation and getting married!

    anita

    #97455
    Ben
    Participant

    I have seriously considered it! I think its mainly due to my lack of exercise and general lifestyle to be honest but if it continues I will certainly consider it. I am pre-hypertensive at the moment which means I am just above normal. I’ve started exercising every day, watching my salt intake, losing wait and taking multivitamins and cod liver oil to try and combat this.

    Very scary finally discovering I am not invincible!

    #97456
    Bethany Rosselit
    Participant

    Hi Ben,

    I have just read the entire thread here, and your post really resonated with my for a number of reasons. I went through the process of completely reinventing myself a few years ago, so I understand the fear, confusion, and challenges that can come with it. In my case, I left my teaching job of 10 years, signed my house over to the bank, and moved 1300 miles away to live on a sailboat!

    A couple thoughts on your situation:

    1. It’s okay to just work a job that pays the bills, while you take some time to recover and find your passion. Be patient, and even have fun with this process!

    2. Don’t think of your next job as being “forever.” You don’t need to have one passion or one dream, and it can actually be more fun and rewarding to change, as your interests change. I thought I would love teaching forever, but it’s been exciting and rewarding to work on my coaching business, focus on sailing, and just go where the (metaphorical) wind takes me.

    3. Focus on basic needs and stress management. You will weather this storm, and there really is no such thing as “failure.” Just choices, results, and learning by trial and error. Trust me, it is always possible to stand back up after falling down!

    I’ve had so many readers and clients ask me about reinventing themselves, that I actually wrote a 6-part series about it on my blog, if you are interested. The posts are in order, so if you click on the link to the left at the bottom of the post (for this one, it will be “5 Thoughts that Stand Between You and Your Dreams” you will get to the next one. Here is the first in the series: http://www.onlinelifecoaching.info/blog/2015/10/11/re-inventing-yourself-101

    #97463
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ben:

    Yes, none of us are invincible! Please do take good care of yourself and if it means postponing your wedding, please do so: you are number one in your own life, at least… you should be!

    Please do post here anytime!

    anita

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