We all have that moment, that one moment when all doubt and hesitation dissipate and you are left with nothing but clarity. And amidst that clarity you discover the path you are meant to be on.
Many years ago I was going through what many other 16 year olds were experiencing, that perpetual uncertainty of what I wanted to do with my life. Throughout my schooling life I was always known as the artistic kid in the classroom. You need something drawn, you need something to look beyond average, I was your guy. Looking back at it you would think that my path was laid out for me from the very beginning. However it’s never always that easy.
Growing up my skills and talents were seen as something great for a hobby but would never really sustain me in life, definitely not something you would make a career out of. This mentality of getting a “normal job” was repeated to me like a mantra for years. Out of sheer compliance and eagerness to make others happy I abandoned my passion and decided to endeavour into a career of becoming a chef. The idea of creating gastronomical master pieces for others did indeed have its appeal.
During years 10 and 11 we had the option to study hospitality at a TAFE part time. It was no easy commitment on top of high school work and a part time job, but I persevered because this was my “dream”. This was the lie that I would say to myself every single time I put on that crisp white uniform. I always had the feeling that this life wasn’t for me but I was already in too deep and I wasn’t one for quitting. But no matter how many cakes I baked and no matter how many plates I cleaned up that nagging feeling would never go away. It was always beating at the door, wanting to be let in, screaming, “This is not what you are supposed to be doing!"
The turning point didn’t arrive in dramatic fashion, it didn’t need to. During one of the few theory classes we had we were assigned an exercise to design a fictional restaurant on an airplane. The exercise seemed mundane enough that it would pass off as an easy “bludge” lesson but for some reason I took it and ran with it. I immediately begin designing the layout of the restaurant, its menu and its logo. The others in my group seemed a lot less receptive of the exercise but I didn’t mind, I felt like I was truly in my element. Even after our presentation of our fictional airplane restaurant was over I was still doodling away, attempting to improve the logo. The whole experience lasted no more than hour but it was enough, enough for me to realise that a life in the back of a kitchen wasn’t for me.
I went into that class literally going through the motions and leaving in a pure state of self-actualisation. This was the moment that I will never ever forget and a moment that I believe many creative minds have felt in their own lives. Unfortunately many people go through their lives without discovering what they are truly meant to be doing and there are many others who choose to neglect it.
I implore you not to take these moments for granted. Do not deny these moments as you are really denying yourself and denying others of your potential. There is no harm in entertaining the idea of pursuing your passion, the only harm that may come to you is the deafening question of “what if?"
Photo Credit: MICHAEL BROWNING