We were sitting across the table from each other in the diner. She had a gyro and I had a burger and fries. My four year old nephew was munching on his own french fries.
“I won’t be that kind of parent you know.”
I chewed and nodded.
“I won’t tell him those things.”
By him she meant my nephew.
“I don’t think it’s fair. I think he needs to be told practical things and not that follow your heart go for your dreams thing. I don’t want him to be disappointed you know. And I want him to have skills and things so he can support himself.”
I don’t have any kids, and we will see what the future holds. I couldn’t really say anything reflective on what my parents told me and my siblings. They didn’t say much. I remember my mom discouraging me from being a journalist. My dad just told us to do our best. I didn’t have a problem doing my best cause if you bought home grades that reflected less than your best you got punished. But I could recall any "be practical or go after your dreams" speeches.
So, I nodded and took another bite of my burger and I looked at my tall light curly haired nephew. He has a lot of future ahead of him and I wanted to tell him “Have a dream and go for it.”
I wanted to tell him the exact opposite of what his mom was planning to tell him. I didn’t though. Not even when I volunteered to take him to the bathroom.
I pondered her perspective. There is something to be said for the safety and security practicality can bring. I like safety and security a lot- mostly because if I am really honest I didn’t have it growing up.
There is also something to be said for the liberty that comes with pursuing the unknown. There is something to be said for pursuing an idea with the goal of making it something tangible.
I declared I wanted to be an artist when I was about three years old. When I was eleven my aunt married my uncle who was an artist and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. As an adolescent I spent hours drawing in notebooks. The drawings consisted of both apparel and homes that I designed both the exteriors and the interiors. As an adolescent I also went to college and earned a BA in human Development and Family Services. As a young adult I worked and bought clothes, developing and perfecting my own personal sense of style. As a young adult I went back to school and earned an MS in Mental Health Counseling.
Amidst earning my second degree, I started Phreedum. Amidst pursuing the practical I began pursuing the practical. I was already amidst going after something that would enhance my sense of stability and security. Yet, I was lured to the possibly of being an “artist”, of making a dream a reality.
While I think passion and practicality are often painted as arch nemesis, titans warring for our resources and livelihood, I’m learning they don’t have to be. Practicality need not be Zeus and Passion need not be Hades with dreams and goals as pending casualties, and there legions upon legions of adulthood and responsibilities.
During the past several months that I’ve spent revamping Phreedum, the remodeling has been because of my desire to integrate practicality and passion. It’s been my desire to integrate the two as oppose to balance the two. It has been my attempt to take what I speak and practice with clients during my 9-5 “practical” job and use them in my efforts to continue to build and develop my brand. For as often as I speak with clients about identity deconstruction and development, I’ve spent the past several months deconstructing and redeveloping Phreedum’s identity. For as much as I encourage client’s to assess assess and assess, especially for irrational fears and thoughts, I’ve done the same in regards to selecting new team members, choosing who to requests interviews from, and who to pitch sales partnerships to. And, I have bought Phreedum into the office. If you visit my office you will see designs posted around the office, some framed and some not, and on my pc desktop there is a Phreedum design. Not to mention, I am constantly telling my clients while they may never be phree from memories or triggers of their trauma they can be phree from the negative impact the trauma has on their lives. My client’s come to me expecting some type of mental and emotional phreedum. The two work hand in hand and not rival to rival.
I want my nephew to feel secure. I want him to have stability. I believe that typically higher education and a steady 9-5 job can provide that. I also want him to feel phree to pursue dreams that he has even if they aren’t going to be praised in textbooks or shown value by offering him an office space on Sunset Boulevard Mondays through Fridays 8 am to 5:30pm.
They say the recession is over but unemployment rates are still tragically high. Employment opportunities for new graduates still look dismal. Individuals who do have 9-5 jobs are being stripped of benefits, denied raises, and given more responsibilities as companies are capitalizing on “other duties as assigned” clauses.
There are also numerous small businesses going out of business. Numerous shops around Philadelphia that have been in business for 3, 16, and 30 years have had to close shop. Their passions have had to be laid to rest.
Yet, I have posted interviews about lots of people who are integrating the two. I’ve posted interviews about folks who are teachers, social workers, sales associates, etc. by day and designers, bloggers, event planners, artists, and caterers by nights and weekends.
Sometimes it’s both and, not either or. Sometimes it’s not be passionate or be practical, rather it’s figuring out how to phreely pursue practicality and passion.