Narrowing down is the hardest thing

two yellow lines on asphalt
Photo: Andrew Martin Pixabay

When you’re a person who likes to do more than one thing in their life, narrowing them down is the hardest thing. Sometimes I wish I could narrow my interests, but I’m not that kind of person. I could have achieved so much more if I had only concentrated on a few things. It feels like time is running out, and I don’t have time to do anything. I need to have time to be lazy too. I thought I wanted to be one thing, but my interests got somewhere else. That’s how my life has been. So many choices but so little time. Maybe one of the reasons why I have had so many problems with decisions is that I think the grass is greener on the other side. Perhaps I’ve been too unrealistic with what I’ve wanted to do in my life. It isn’t a lack of support from other people. I subconsciously don’t dare to do things because I’m too scared of failing. Or maybe I’m just too lazy. It can also be like that because I failed many times, so I don’t want to go through it again. I know when you fall, you get up again, but still, I don’t get anything done.

I could have narrowed things down, but I like to be versatile. I never wanted to have an ordinary job, so it was difficult to know what to study. When I finally do, that’s not enough either. The reality is that some people are narrow-minded, even if they might think that they aren’t. Their opinion is that you need to have specific education and a certain amount of job experience to be good enough to be in their little group known as ‘their business’. You need to be a student or have an amount of experience to even get an internship. Neither way, you can’t gain experience if you’re not allowed to practice your skills in a job. I’ve started to believe I’m not meant to be a graphic designer. At Helsinki Design School, where I studied some years ago, I didn’t get the encouragement I expected. I got the assumption that I’m only average compared to the others. One time I got feedback on a poster I made about my city from one of the teachers. I should have done some research, and she wouldn’t have put it on her wall. I know my town, so there is no need for it. I just think she didn’t understand my style. One opinion doesn’t make me believe I’m bad at graphic design. Drawing isn’t my strong point anyway. It makes you think twice, though. It’s the same with photography. I doubt my skills in that too. Seeing other people’s work doesn’t help me either. It’s a little depressing. It makes me think I’m not good enough at anything. It feels like I’m an outcast and don’t belong to this creative business club. Maybe I have wasted my time and life thinking I have what it takes to be a graphic designer. Or any other job where design is concerned.

It’s a positive thing to have knowledge of many things instead of only having one narrow one. Both have a good and a bad side. If you know about many things, it’s also more challenging to choose between them. If you have a narrowed skill, it’s easier to improve that. Either way, both are needed. If there is something you can’t do, there is always someone who can. I only wish someone could have some use for my skills in the workplace, but I guess there isn’t. Too bad for them.

Slow movement

movement
©Mia Salminen 2014

Sometimes I hate it when I’m too slow. Especially when it comes to making decisions. Even getting up early in the morning is slow. The bed feels so comfy, and of course, I go to bed so late. I don’t have any reason to get up early, so maybe that’s the reason why I sleep late too. I’m not a morning person anyway. The only fast movement I have is neither walking nor cycling. Other times it’s just slow.

Every day I think I’ll wake up early and do things. But when it comes to it, I don’t do any of it. I’ve thought about starting something on my own in my professional life, but I still haven’t done much. It’s been 4 years since my web design education. It’s been two years since the graphic design in Helsinki Design School, and about 3 years since the course about entrepreneurship. I bet all those former classmates had done something during these years. They have probably become even better at their job because they have had a chance to practice. Before I wake up, half the day has gone. I have no motivation to make up my own projects. I’m not even sure what kind of creative work I want to do. Every graphic designer does the same things. I mean, how many graphic designers do, e.g. branding and identity for small and big business? Looking at what graphic designer do, in the end, it’s all the same. They’re only much better than me. People probably would say this about my designs, “even I could do that” That’s what one said about my photography once. Why pay for the service when you can do it for free yourself. I don’t even know what my style is. Nothing special doesn’t sell. I feel like crap when I see people’s work on Instagram who studied or studying at Helsinki Design School. My ideas just aren’t good enough.

A slow movement is better than being rushed. If you’re doing things fast, the result might be bad. I don’t know why people must be in a hurry in the first place. You shouldn’t stress about things, because then no one enjoying themselves. I don’t like waiting, but you don’t need to be in a hurry either. If things happen or don’t happen, it shouldn’t be the end of the world. Maybe I’m just a laid-back person, and these things don’t stress me as much as it might be with someone else. It can worry me for a while, but I get over it after a moment. See, what I wrote earlier in this post, I’m already over it 😉

Long shadows following me

selfie shadow
©Mia Salminen 2021

I just can’t catch a break, can I? It’s nothing bad or anything like that. It only feels long shadows are following me whatever I do. Especially when it comes to education and job search. They say you should study, but what is the point when you’re not giving a change in the working world. You need job experience, but then internships are not one of them. Maybe that’s the problem, I only have them and that one part-time job. I can never find any jobs to apply to because they need people with experience. I haven’t had the time to do any job search since my dad still needs certain help. I have tried to look at jobs ads, but I haven’t found anything to apply to. Writing cover letters is not my favourite thing. LinkedIn is a weird place to look for a job. I get quite silly suggested from job alerts too. Jobs that I don’t even have training for. I wouldn’t search for a job there anyway. I did apply for one, but it was a bit strange. I didn’t even know if it was real.

I wrote about this in this post. It’s about Helsinki Design School, where I studied both photography and graphic design. They asked former students about what they have done after school. So far, none of my schoolmates has come up in the student’s stories. Most of the stories so far has been about interior designers and visual designers. There have been some photographers and graphic designers too. They write about, e.g. networking and about the pros who teach there. Well, I haven’t had any of that. Especially in the photography course in 2014-2015. Maybe it has become better after I went there. It was new at the time. There were a few students who were disappointed. They didn’t get what they were looking for. I didn’t either, but I didn’t expect anything special. I’ve probably forgotten all about what was taught there by now. The same probably goes with the graphic design one in 2018-2019. Former students who have studied in school have found their strengths during their education, but I haven’t. I’m still looking. So in that way, I am disappointed at the education. But also I got something out of it. It doesn’t get me a job, but still, I didn’t want to study something for 4 years when I already had for 2. Graphic design is not science, after all. I am a bit envy of the former students who have had the courage to become entrepreneurs. If you have clients already, it’s much easier to start.

I think I want to be my own president because then I can be my own boss. I wish I was brave enough to start something on my own because I wish I didn’t have to stress about the job search. I’m not an actor so I can’t be something the employers expect me to be. This month is ending soon but the year is long, so we’ll see what will happen.