When I was in high school, I wanted to be a writer.
I didn’t know why. I lost the battle of choosing college majors with my parents because I just couldn’t explain what I intuitively knew:
Writing was my salvation.
We often ask people we meet: “Are you a creative person?”, “Are you an analytical person?” We don’t realize that so many of us are both.
I grew up in an Asian culture of overachievement in science and mathematics. That means the analytical side of me flourished while the creative side supressed. Creativity is frowned upon by strict Asian parents as the gateway to disobedience.
It wasn’t until I quit my Wall Street technology job that I realized what was lacking in my life.
Up until then, my life had been dedicated solely to analytical pursuits that I forgot to take care of my emotional needs and creative needs.
The cost of that was a couple years of anxiety and depression. It took years of reevaluating myself, my connections and my life to really unleash the emotional and the creative side of myself again.
The motivation was the birth of my son. Following my son’s amazing development from infancy to toddlerhood allowed me to peek into my own childhood.
It reminded me of the humanity, the creativity and the sensitive self that existed in me from the beginning.
For once, to be a better mother to my son, I had to take a leap of faith. I had to come back completely to the essence of myself. I had to make my own life fulfilling by balancing out all my needs: analytical needs, emotional needs and creative needs.
Making a career change is never easy. For me, the trigger was the deadening feeling of working on a piece of data analysis code and not loving it anymore. It was hard to accept when things are simply not enough. I felt guilty. I had worked very hard at what I “supposedly” did best. I loved it for many years. I was given great opportunities. But, I just wasn’t excited about it all anymore.
I felt like the wife stuck in a dead marriage with the guy who all the neighborhood ladies wanted as a husband.
The one thing about motherhood is that: it’s fast, it’s furious and it waits for no one. I had no time, energy nor the strength to fight with myself about the decisions I made.
I just did it all.
I changed loads upon loads of diapers. I reveled in my “free time” as my infant son stared up at me from his baby blanket. I laminated printouts for his activities. I read parenting books. I setup playdates. I learned to discipline him.
It felt like a huge tidal wave. I surfed it without having any knowledge of how to do it from the start.
Then, one night the truth hits me like a ton of bricks. What would my ideal job be now that I don’t have a career safety net? I couldn’t answer the question. So, I started to write. I wrote about parenting issues. I journaled. I researched. Then, I wrote some more.
Pretty soon, I started a blog. Then, I learned all about SEO, Wordpress, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I learned about taking engaging photographs. I learned to create memes for my audience. I learned to skip Photoshop and go directly to Canva. I learned to check my grammar.
I’m still learning everyday. It’s exhilarating to get years of materials out. Through the process, I slowly opened up my creative funnel.
The thing about the creative funnel is that once you turn it on, it’s hard to turn it off.
The other day, I came across piece of data visualization while researching freelance writing jobs. It was mesmerizing to me. I wanted to critique the analysis and get my hands on that dataset.
There you go, my friends! For me, the only way back to being a balanced individual is to write my way back to my emotional, creative and analytical self.
If writing isn’t a bridge, I don’t know what is.
It’s a bridge that connects my left brain and my right brain. It’s a bridge that opens up the possibility of having a career that is not limited to one profession. It leads me to my new path of pursuing many different projects across a variety of fields.
Do you want to hear about my latest projects? Ask me after I get through analyzing my first dataset in three years.