I live six hours away from home, which is of course Norman, Oklahoma. It's just far enough away to be completely different and close enough for my friends to drive down and visit me for the weekend. They always say they wish they could move here. Austin is somewhat of an American paradise, I think, and I think everyone else is realizing that too. Or maybe that New City High hasn't worn off of me yet. The truth is that anyone CAN move here, anyone can move anywhere they want. It's a matter of priorities. I took a pay cut to move here, but the difference is made up with all the things I can do here that I can't do back home: go jump in Barton Springs, kayak Lake Travis, go on weekly bike rides with the social cycling scene. It is true that life is what you make it, and that you can be just as happy in one place as you can be in another, but the environment around you can stimulate you in a direction. And for me, personally, Austin is the best idea I've ever had in my entire adult life.
I've made a lot of decisions when at the time I honestly was not sure if it was the right decision or not, but stubbornness and pride carried me through to the complete execution of my decision. Going to hair school and moving to Georgia for art school both fall in this category. As it turned out, attending barber college was another bright idea, as it has thus far supplied me with a career and enough money to live on, as well as introduced me to some of the most amazing people. The art school decision, however, I have been struggling with. It has been a long, whiney road to come to grips with my post-college life, with my new found and seemingly pointless debt to pay off student loans for schooling that still hasn't landed me a job. But then I realized something the other day, when I was in the middle of being mad at my expensive degree and the fact that I still don't have a job in my field: it's not my pricey schooling's fault I don't have an artistic job, it's mine. I have to be my own boss and create my own title. Become CEO of my own life.
And art school was worth it, in spite of the student loan debt, because it taught me the importance of time management and the basics of art and design, and much like hair school introduced me to some of the most amazingly talented people I've ever come across. It also taught me how to live on practically nothing pretty comfortably.
I have been inspired. I have fully realized that life is what I make it, and if I want to make money on my art then I am going to have to hustle. So that's what I've been doing; busting my ass to make extra money so I can invest more towards a future that ensures I am getting paid to create. Which brings me back around to my original point, that moving to Austin is one of the best ideas I've ever had, because moving here made me realize that I do have enough ambition and talent to do more than just survive. I might even be able to flourish. Without the confidence that moving here has given me, I'm not sure I would be able to make it as an artist. I would have settled into a familiar, comfortable life as a hairstylist in Norman, Oklahoma and continued to paint as a hobby. Not that there is anything at all wrong with that, I do firmly believe you can be just as happy being in one place as the next.
After all, life is what you make it.
sidenote: I do want to kind of delve into all the reasons I love Austin but I already feel really braggy so I'll save it for another day...but just to summarize: 1. best shape of my life 2. awesome people 3. beautiful 4. barton springs/greenbelt/lake travis ok ok I'm done....
sidenote2: this is also my subtle way of trying to get all my friends to move down here, already.