Movies, TV, magazines… day in and day out, I am affronted with a massive overload of the unattainable. Commercials obliquely telling me I need to lose weight, make more money, look younger, drive a sexier car. Hollywood blockbuster films laden with beautiful people in beautiful places with beautiful things. No one ever has morning breath or wakes up with bad hair. Everyone is perpetually in the right place at the right time and always knows just what to say and when to say it.
Even though I know it’s a hyperbole, I can’t help but feel that I subconsciously measure myself against this specious facade and feel a festering need to jump on the treadmill, climb the ladder, put my nose to the grindstone, and give it the old college try. All to fulfill some distorted vision of who and what I should be.
At this point, my career path has money and the potential for a lot more money. But it holds no satisfaction of the spirit. I placate myself with the fact that I have a job that pays well, a beautiful home, with a beautiful view, on a beautiful island… and somehow that equates to success. I should be happy with the beauty that surrounds me. I should be content with the comforts of my home. I should be proud of my accomplishments at work – that I played a crucial role in my company making it onto the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies for 2013. I should be content with the time I manage to carve out for making art & designing furniture. I should be driven by the possibility that someday I’ll have even more money, with a more beautiful home with a more beautiful view, on a more beautiful island…
But something’s not right.
In a culture incessantly driven by “more”, how does one find satisfaction? I look around and find that the majority of people, myself included, are lost in the pursuit of unhappiness. Enamored and bamboozled by what has become of the American dream.
The measure of my happiness can’t be found on a bank statement. It doesn’t sit on a shelf, hang in a closet, or charge in a wall. You can’t park it in a garage or put a downpayment on it. You certainly can’t take a selfie with it. And as much as I might think it lies in having a body like Chris Hemsworth and the hairline of Robert Downey Jr, the plain fact of the matter is, it doesn’t.
Simply put, I’m doing it wrong. Everything is turned all upside down. I’ve somehow constructed a life around myself that forces me to have the kind of job that can pay for that life. I have compromised the very essence of my identity, as an artist and as a world citizen, by centering my life around the making of money to pay for material gratification. To be higher up on the proverbial ladder. To make more. So I can have more. So I can want more.
I have become dependent on the cash-flow required to support this endless cycle of fleeting satisfaction. A dependency that prevents me from making essential life changes that my heart cries out for.
When it comes right down to it, I need to be creating things that are beautiful, inspiring, educational, or if nothing else, useful to society. All I really need are creative ideas, somewhere to explore them, and a means of sharing. Being of service to others, using the talents I’ve been granted by the powers that be… That is where I’ll find happiness. Whether there’s money in it or not.
With these things in mind, I’ve given up my home with the amazing view of Diamond Head and packed up my overpriced art studio in Kaka’ako. I’m selling off or giving away most all of my belongings, and squirreling away a small chunk of money… with the plan of starting over. I need a place with a new perspective. Somewhere that’s inspiring, with cheaper living expenses and cheaper studio spaces. A city with more contemporary art galleries that’s more conducive to traveling than a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific.
Thus comes the announcement: For those that don’t already know, in six weeks I’m moving away from Honolulu. In fact, I’m moving all the way to Istanbul, where I plan to begin the process of restructuring my life to be more centered around a creative lifestyle. Which means making art, designing furniture… I don’t even know what else. I only know it needs to be something I feel passionate about. Art first.