Welcome back to our series Ask Angella, where we do exactly that.
If you’ve ever had a potentially sensitive creative question, we want you to throw it our way so that we can hand it over to Angella: our resident art writer, expert, and all-around kind, funny and wise human being. Here’s the question we’ll tackle this month:
“I’m one of those people who thinks change is really scary. I recently switched to freelancing and, while I’m excited about the prospects, I feel like I’m starting from square one. How do I start fresh without feeling lost?”
When life has its way with us, or rather when we let it, we end up in unexpected places. With these new places–whether in a city, an office, or the limits of a new career–come new experiences and a chance to learn about ourselves.
What does it mean to start over? What can be gained from new experiences and what are you losing in order to do so? New situations can be scary and transitions from old habits to a making a new routine is exhausting. But fear not: not all new things in life have to be rough and tumble and while I’m no expert, I’ve recently lived through a BIG life transition (spoiler alert: I just moved across the country to New York, ah!) and I have a few tips to guide your ship into uncharted waters.
Learning a new skill or being completely foreign in a new place inevitably comes with challenges and it’s almost guaranteed you’ll fall on your face more than once along the way. Embrace the risks of trying something different and be gentle with yourself when you don’t get it right the first time. Researcher Brene Brown, who writes often about perfectionism and failure said, “There is no innovation or creativity without failure,” and I can’t help but agree. Looking back to the times when I felt I had really messed up ended up giving way to vibrant experimentation. Going back to the drawing board is never a bad thing, it just means you need to try something different.
Meet with people who do what you want to do.
When people are good at what they do it’s usually because they’ve been at it for awhile and it’s more than likely that they know what it’s like to be a novice. What inspired you to switch to photography form illustration, for example, or commercial work to fine art? Make a list of people who are the best at what they do even if they’re not your favorite artist or producer. They may still have valuable career and life advice that you can use. Don’t be shy!
One of the pleasures of starting something new is having fresh eyes. When I recently moved to a new city, I found myself noticing things that almost faded within a month’s time. Writing all these new sights and interactions down is a way to memorialize the transition. Who knows, you might find yourself inspired all over again!
Take good care of yourself.
Don’t burn the candle at both ends. This may sound basic but it’s never a bad idea to make sure you’re eating enough food, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. Being in new situations burns more energy than an average day when you know what to expect. Being in a positive headspace will only help when you’re gearing up to handle curveballs. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: you are your most valuable asset and you owe it to yourself to be in tip top shape, whatever that means for you.