I consider myself both successful and happy. Some people struggle with both of these things. They complain about their life, their job, their general “situation”; but they do nothing to change. Let me tell you about my success and the journey it took to get there.
During high school I got very sick. After a life threatening event caused me to start my junior year late, I started focusing on school. I had a new outlook on life. My new passion was physics. I read everything I could about it and I took all the physics and mathematics classes I was able to take at my silly little school. This focus led me to college as a physics major.
College got me down. I admit, I became lost in the vastness of it. My tiny town and tiny school were mere puddles when compared to the ocean of opportunity at college. I drowned in the combination of scholastic pressure, social awkwardness, medical illness, and waning focus.
I switched my major to computer science because all my friends were doing it. Seriously — this is the most immature, stupid reason to do anything. It was something I was pretty good at without having to put in any effort, which is what made it appealing.
By the end of my short college career, I just wanted out. I ended up dropping out of the honors college in order to graduate early. I was accepted into a Ph.D. program and so I was off to grad school. What?!? Why would I leave school so impatiently just to rush off to another, even bigger, school? Yes, this. I realized my folly about a month after starting graduate studies and dropped out.
I took a job that I hated, mostly because I just needed a job. I started taking art classes online. (I love art. If I could go back and do it all again, I would have majored in english composition and art. I think I would have enjoyed college much more, but this is for another story.) In addition to drawing, I also tried many hobbies including but not limited to beading, poly clay, sewing, journaling, painting porcelain, and spinning yarn.
Boredom led me to switch jobs not once, but twice. I ended up working an hour and a half away doing programming for a government contracting company. My days included driving, working, driving, playing World of Warcraft with coworkers until 2am, sleep, repeat. I realized I had developed an addiction to WoW, I had even quit my art classes. So, I quit playing. What would fill the void? Knitting.
I had started knitting back in college. But in the last few years, had touched it little. Now I picked it up again with fervor. I knitted in every spare moment. I joined a carpool group so that I could knit during the commute even though it meant getting up every day at 4am. My addiction to WoW became an addiction to knitting. Later I took a similar but closer-to-home job. I couldn’t knit in the car, but I knit before and after work. I even knit at work on occasion.
I started designing in 2009 while still at my full time job. After two years of intense focus, designing and knitting in every spare moment, knitwear design became my full time job in 2011. Designing is my focus, my passion. It’s a job I love. Finally.
My focus and dedication to designing has lead to my success. In less than five years, I’ve been published in magazines, worked with yarn companies, am writing a book, and started a related business. I could not do all these things if I was still drawing, writing, beading, etc. If I lacked focus, I would still be working for some man, in some cubical, writing code. I would not be where I am today.
I chose to change my life. It took a while to get there, but I did it. I found that one thing that I love to do and made it my career. It was scary. It required me quitting a good paying job to pursue my dream. And it required, and still requires, a lot of hard work. In the end, I think I’ve been successful.