I was working in banking at the time. It was very stressful. I remember when I was studying in the university, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. But I was under pressure. There were lots of career fairs, services, deadlines, but hardly anything on unconventional paths. Everyone was heading towards banking or consultancy. Because it was so competitive, you felt like you should also be part of it. Later on, I spent nearly two years exploring different career options, jobs in non-financial sectors, online retail, entrepreneurship…but everything I pursued just faded away. The only thing left was creative projects. I started painting as a way of meditation. I bought the cheapest materials that I could find online, and then just followed the instructions from a book. I’ve never painted before and I had no plan, but the journey just went on and on — from a random sketch in my free time, to a two-months weekend course, then full year of a foundation program, and finally a full year postgraduate course at the Royal Drawing School. The transition did not seem hard as you stepped into a structured setting, and you were always encouraged. I had never been so excited!
But now I finished all my art studies, the situation has become quite different. There is no longer a clear path in front of you. You are constantly fighting against your self-doubts. It feels strange when every morning you are heading towards a different direction from everyone else in Canary Wharf. Family members are also worried. They would ask: what if you don’t have money when you grow old… This is something you are already thinking about, and they are just pinching that painful spot. Oftentimes I have to tell myself, that you are not on your own, that many people have done this before and they faced similar struggles, and that you are part of a bigger thing. Doubts are and will be always there. Uncertainties and insecurities will be part of the journey and you just have to get used to them. Lots of these voices are not helping; they are just preventing you. If you start listening to them and trying to analyze them, it won’t get you anywhere. The only thing that is helpful for me is to just start doing the actual activity itself. When I start painting, all these doubts just go away. I guess I just have to trust my intuition. If it is something that makes you feel both excited about and scared of, this is probably the thing that is worth pursuing.