I would rather regret my decision after twenty years, than die every moment for the rest of my life.

As I think about the paint in my nails, murals on my bedroom walls and dirty brushes scattered all over the table, I can’t help but feel caged at the choices that lie in front of me.

Since the day I was born, my parents have done everything possible to give me a beautiful life. And I couldn’t be more thankful! Their constant support and exposure to a million resources carved me into a person with a powerful CV, despite of my limited talents. But is that all my life is? An impressive sheet of document?

It’s finally time for me to start working, to give meaning to all those sleepless nights spent among textbooks. I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the journey, I really did. It was pure bliss to see the happy faces of my friends and family when I scored well on an important exam.

There’s a big question mark in my life without the smell of paint and its stains on my clothes.

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Learning about science, the flow of money, politics and trade was interesting at a point. But being fascinated by something and wanting to devote your entire life to it are two very different things.

When I began to consider refusing the first job which was offered to me, my loved ones inquired from time to time, whether this was what I wanted. Will I be satisfied doing a 9 to 5 job and putting my degrees to good use? Maybe. But will I be happy? I don’t think so. There’s a big question mark in my life without the smell of paint and its stains on my clothes.

Now, some say that one can work and pursue their hobbies at the same time. Maybe. But what if the 9 to 5 life kills the artist in me? As dramatic as that sounds, I would be breathing but not really living.

I’d rather be the outcast, the one with modest means, than be on top of the world and slowly corrode from inside.

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How many people have been successful in living with an ambition which isn’t their passion?

How many singers wished they could reach more people and not just the empty walls of their office cubicle, after hours?

How many dancers would kill for another chance to dance like they did in their old days?

And let’s not forget the pain in diary entries of the housewife, who longs for her name after an ‘Author’ tag.

Surely, these forgotten artists must have had a great career in other professions, rolling in money, maybe fame too. But whenever my mind goes twenty years into the future, I can’t imagine myself being able to bear the emptiness they must be feeling now. I’d rather be the outcast, the one with modest means, than be on top of the world and slowly corrode from inside.

So, here’s the final decision: I’m going to follow my heart and not the six or seven-digit package leading to my doom (well, sort of). I don’t know if I’m writing this to seek validation from the important people in my life or to convince myself that I can take the leap. But what I do know, is that I cannot follow the herd. My art isn’t just a hobby
anymore. It has become much more than that. It’s a way of life. And I refuse to part with it.

Looking forward to a new canvas, a new beginning,
A right-brained soul.



Author: Alisha Jamshed Syed

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