Morning, readers… And welcome to a brand new week.
This post is about what happens when you realise the path you’ve followed isn’t the right one - even when your gut told you it was. It’s about how to start over without compromising yourself. It’s about how to dig deep and find the guts to do it. In short, I hope this speaks to you about did me.
In short, fate 0 : Naomi 1:
You know that feeling of saying something in company accidentally that you know will deeply hurt or offend someone that’s within earshot and the blood rushes to your head and your stomach sinks with regret?
You know that feeling of spending a horrendous amount of time on something computer related only to hit ‘exit’ and realise that you never hit ‘save’ first and all of the work and time you’ve put in has disappeared into the ether?
Well roll all of those feelings of panic, anger, frustration, disappointment, embarrassment and regret into one big disgusting pill and try to swallow it. That’s exactly how I felt when the slow realisation hit that I spent four years of my life and tens of thousands of pounds doing the wrong degree.
My name is Naomi and I’m a designer. I was 8 years old when my aunt asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, to which I replied “An Interior Designer”. She then went on to ask me if she could have her house designed for free, and my response has been a family story pulled out at Christmases and Funerals for a collective aw-how-cute giggle. I said “Maybe I’ll give you a discount”.
There, my friends, began my life’s path. I never once veered from it, questioned it or really, to be honest thought about it. I was going to be an Interior Designer and that was that. Sure I had an interest in it, I spend my time admiring art and design of all forms. I did well in Art class throughout school. I loved the experimentation processes and the self expression involved. I loved problem solving and couldn’t get enough of being labelled as ‘artsy’. I embraced the huge plastic portfolio case I carried to and from school, I listened to Placebo and The Cure, I spent free classes in the art room melting wax and trying to paint with it. I genuinely loved it.
Fast forward several years, I decided I would go to Edinburgh College of Art. The application process was nerve wrecking. There were hundreds of applicants and eight places. I fucking got one! I still remember fist pumping the air and heading out on an absolute bender of a night to celebrate my success and the fact that I would be setting out into the world on my own. In another country.
I started the course with unshakable enthusiasm. Yes, I partied and paid about as much attention to my studies as any self respecting 19 year old does, hungover and operating at about 64% of my capability. But here’s the thing… I ENJOYED it. I loved the course and the challenges that come with it! Critiques, projects and hours spent in front of computer design programs. I loved learning the history, research and principles behind design.
But what has become increasingly obvious to me over the last few years is that I love to learn. So that passion and enthusiasm for learning new things masked the red flags that this was not the career choice for me. I graduated and got a job working for an incredible company. It encouraged ethical creativity and pushed resourcefulness. All of which I jumped on board with, but after a while I became jaded. The kind of jaded where you know you need a drastic change. You need to get married / quit your job / cut your hair off / set off to travel the world. So I did. All of the above. Within three days.
Since then, I’ve landed in Perth Australia and not moved for almost three years. So although we’re still technically on honeymoon, life is no longer ‘on hold’ anymore. I blindly decided to follow my career path in Interior Design when I got here but very very quickly realised, I hated it. I hated everything about it. I had grown and changed and become more aware of myself on my travels.
You put your big girl pants on and you suck it up. Then you soldier on.
About two years ago I did some soul searching, I started following some motivational people (we can chat about it in the comments if you want to know who… there’s quite a few) and just generally started getting my shit together and sorting myself out.
I’ve spent those last two years also studying marketing, graphic design and moving closer to my real creative dreams of Art Direction and Brand Design. I’m no longer trying to shoehorn myself into a career path that doesn’t fit or suit me. And it feels incredible. I’m still figuring some things out, so although I haven’t come to a solid whizzbang conclusion about all my hopes and dreams, I do know one thing…
There is massive power in realising what you DON’T want from life. It frees you up, creates space and makes your goals more fluid, letting you course correct towards bigger and better things. Even if it costs a fortune and hurts your heart to admit you made some mistakes along the way.