Why I’m leaving the Corporate World for a Creative Career at 27

TANDW INSTAGRAM PHOTO 2019-1003

This has been sitting in my drafts for over a year and a half and I honestly forgot I had written it. It brought such a big smile to my face so I thought I would share.

Usually women in their mid to late 20’s start thinking about marriage, buying houses and getting ready to welcome babies in to their lives. Not me.

I can admit, I’m really hard on myself. I feel as though my existence is somehow validated through what I do and how well I do it. I do want kids and I do want to settle down but it is important to me to find a career that will cater to my passions, aspiration and this invisible bar I have set for myself. It hasn’t been an easy road to deciding to essentially turn my back on 5 years of education and 4 years of work experience but once I worked through my emotions, it became clear to me that I belonged in the creative realm somehow.

My love for design and the arts was prevalent at a very young age. At 4 years old my mother asked me what sport I wanted to play out of soccer, volleyball, and basketball. I chose dance. At 5 years old, my school uniform became fluffy dresses and hair bows as I had made a declaration to my mother that I was going pick out my own outfits for now on, for the rest of my life.

For Christmas that same year, my parents gifted me a 3 story Barbie house which I could decorate and rearrange on my own. I spent HOURS locked in my room decorating the Barbie house for elaborate birthday parties and then dressing my dolls accordingly. I also had a Barbie Yacht that I would do the same thing for, but you get the point (and my mother wonders why I like nice things).

At 17 my love of all things related to design flourished farther than dressing dolls and decorating their homes (and yachts). Sick days and after school TV wasn’t’ filled with Maury and The Price is Right, I became obsessed with the Fashion Channel.

Soon after I received my drivers licence, frequently after school I would rush to the nearest and largest thrift shop and return home with plastic bags stuffed to the brim with clothing. I would then spend the next week or so taking garments apart, reconstructing, tailoring and sewing them back together to adhere to the latest trends. I would spend hours YouTubing how to perfectly and properly rip and denim and endlessly scroll through ebay looking for the perfect accessories to iron, stamp or assemble on my clothes (little spikes were very in at the time). I also remember experimenting excessively with bleach to create the perfect ombre faded denim. It was the highlight of my week when people would ask where I got my clothes from.

I went to a larger high school in BC, Canada where I was able to take courses in Fashion Design and Interior Design. These courses were by far my favourite. I also took a Law class in my last year which I also enjoyed.

When my parents sat me down after graduation and asked me what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I chose Law. I can tell you why I did. In my head I saw a glamorous career in a highly respected field with good stable salary.  I have this strange fear of people perceiving me as stupid and I guess at the time of my decision I felt that society views people the in law as intellectually elite. My plan was to do a four year degree in Law to become a Paralegal, write the LSAT and complete a further three years of University to obtain my Juris Doctorate. While this all sounded fine in my head, I didn’t realize I would be neglecting my most favourite part of myself, my creativity.

I vividly remember arriving at my parents house after my first day of my practicum in 2014. I walked through the front door and after my parents asked me how my day was I started crying uncontrollably. Through sobs, I told them “I am succumbing to a life of mediocrity. This was not the way I was intended to do life”.  They laughed and said “welcome to the real world”.

In 2016 I was privy to my mother and father flipping a house in an adorable area of North Vancouver. I was able to see the process concerning moving walls, picking doors and offer my opinion on wall paint, cabinetry and many others. I loved it. That same year I completed the LSAT.

I recall struggling with feeling my life lacked purpose and I was hoping Law School would help with that. Though, while I prepared to apply for Law Schools I felt a deep sadness in my heart. I remember describing it as “impending doom” at the time. I decided to not apply for any Law Schools.

A month or two later I enrolled in Interior Design courses at the College nearest to my apartment in Vancouver. I wanted to get my toes wet before diving in head first. Going to school after work was my solace and sparked that passion I had lost while mixed up in the corporate world.

Don’t get me wrong, becoming a Paralegal has given me invaluable knowledge and experience. I don’t feel like the last 9 years was wasted completely. I never financially struggled which is such a blessing being born in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I also met “my person”, Leon.  Education in Fashion or Interior design would have probably led me to a school in another part of the world.

Leon and I met in 2015 and at the top of both our bucket lists was to live in a new city for an extended period of time. That brings us to today. I am currently finding a tenant to rent our apartment, packing my things and getting ready to skip town in a month and a half. I am overwhelmed, excited, scared and hopeful for what this next chapter brings, whatever that might be. One thing is certain though, I am enrolling in design school and starting the first of many new chapters in interior design.

I’ll end this story with a couple of lessons I have learned along the way.

#1. You don’t have to be a Doctor, a Lawyer or an Engineer to be respected in society;

#2. You will be prodded by society’s illusion of a comfortable life, to participate in the rat race and to compete with one another vehemently. This is an unhealthy way to live your life;

#3. Don’t let your dreams, whether consciously or unconsciously bend to social pressure. This pressure doesn’t tailor itself to your true calling. It will steer you in the wrong direction;

#4. Never let your talents and aptitudes fade away. Each talent and passion is unique and special to you, explore them incessantly;

#5. Life is more about how you feel about yourself and what you do rather than how others feel about you and what you do;

and lastly,

#6. Never take life advice from unhappy people.

Xo Tia

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