artist kids, kid art

Inspiring Friends

Life can get pretty crazy.  Especially when you’re doing a balancing act between what you love to do and what you need to do.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Alanna posted a picture of her tomato harvest on Facebook. “I’ll trade you for some basil,” I commented. More people started chiming in until a pasta dinner was proposed to happen at her house. During the pasta dinner our friends Karen and Dabney who had recently had a baby were telling me how they expected and planned on slowing down the pace of their lives once their daughter Alice was born. They are dance performers and instructors and travel a lot, so they naturally expected to settle and find more steady work. Instead, the opposite happened. They started getting more teaching and performance gigs, to which they were able to bring baby Alice with them.

I thought about mine and Shelly’s journey with the kids and it was very similar. The time that we started having our children was when her career started moving forward at an insane pace and mine started changing from technology to something more artistic. When we got pregnant with Trystan, neither of us were working; I got a job as an engineer at 3M just in time before the baby was born. Then, shortly after we had Zoey, Shelly got a career bump and we moved to New York for 6 months where we had many adventures and my life as a stay home dad started my journey to career self discovery. After doing so many creative things with the kids and getting out of my daily technological grind, I realized that I don’t want to be an engineer any more. Now I am a technical writer in pursuit of unleashing my creativity into my vocation and a career that I love. It’s so crazy! We’re about to have baby number three and we feel even more dependent on providence to make ends meet.  It’s new and scary but we know we’re doing the right thing. One thing that makes it possible is that we have lots of support.

We have surrounded ourselves with brave friends who are leaping into the future guided by their hearts instead of the promise of stability offered by a “steady job”. I look back at my past, and I am so grateful for the sacrifices that my parents made to give me and my siblings the opportunities that we have to follow our dreams today. My mom was a successful sit-com screen writer and piano teacher when we lived in the Philippines. She was happy doing what she loved to do. My dad on the other hand, never pursued a career in what he really loved. We moved to the United States because my dad wanted to chase the American dream. My mom left her dream job and eventually became a Court Reporter. We owned a keyboard and she was able to teach all six of her children the fundamentals of music and launched all of us into band and orchestra programs while we were in school. My dad taught me guitar as I took to that more than I did the piano. From a young age, it was evident to me that both of my parents were very artistic. But the message that I got from them was that I had to become an Engineer so that I could provide for my family with a steady income. Not only did I hear it with words, I also saw it with how they lived their lives. They were martyrs for their children.

Many parents did that in their generation. I remember watching a movie where a son wanted to become an artist but his parents wanted him to pursue “computers” so he could have a steady income to be able to provide for a family. One day, during his sister’s debutante ball (filipino coming of age celebration) his dad, a blue collar worker, goes up to the microphone after many of his sister’s friends had finished performing for her, and dedicates a song for her.  His singing captivated the crowd and blew everyone away. The son finds out from the older guests at the party that his dad used to be a professional singer and gave it up when they got pregnant with him.

It is important to teach your children how to be responsible adults. It is important to teach them to be selfless especially when it comes to their own children. I also believe that it is even more important to teach them how to listen to their hearts and take leaps of faith in the direction of their dreams. Don’t be reckless about it, and blindly jump into the future. A lot of listening is involved. This is the kind of example that I want to show Trystan, Zoey and Zachary. I want them to see their daddy following his heart, pursuing his dreams, while providing for their daily needs. Mommy is doing the same thing too. It would almost be impossible if she wasn’t. The ebb and flow of providence switches back and forth. It breathes. It has rhythm. Just like dancing sometimes she shines, sometimes I shine but both constantly listening to the music. And both listening to each other.

Now I know that I don’t have to walk the same path my parents and many in their generation did. Each person has a different learning style and for myself, it is definitely by making mistakes and going through what not to do before figuring out how to do something properly. So maybe my parents’ sacrifice was God’s gentle way of letting me know how to raise my children instead of making my own mistakes with them. Each person is created for a purpose, so parents need to teach their children how to listen to their inner compass. Without learning to listen to that voice within, then it will be difficult to hear the call to your vocation.

People get paid for everything!  If your personality and talents inspire you to love skydiving, there are jobs out there that would require you to skydive. Whether it’s as a stunt actor, sky diving instructor, paratrooper in the military, etc.  There is a career out there that fulfills each and every person’s desires. You may have to be creative in monetizing your passion, but the fruits are out there for the picking.

I consider myself so blessed to be surrounded by so many friends who are willing to go out on the limb to do what they love. We are breaking traditional models while keeping traditional values, we are breaking the mold while enhancing the flavor. Some are riding the waves of new trends while others are riding old waves with a new style.

After such a long time of pursuing something I wasn’t passionate about, I am still listening for my vocation. With grand plans and a desire to create, I am exploring options in writing and music. Pursuit of writing prompted me to create this blog and my pursuit of music inspires me to DJ (www.soentertaining.com) and play guitar and sing for church services.  Over 16 years of training and experience as an engineer in aerospace and biometrics has also given me a skill set that is very unique.  I am aiming for what I love; though it is more likely that somewhere between what I love and what I have experience in… that is where I’ll find my calling.

With all that said, I dedicate this blog post to all my friends who inspire me to soldier on into a brave new world of pursuing what I love. I will not post their names on this public forum but will list some of their websites below (most of them don’t have websites or blogs). I am so proud of all of you and thankful to have you in my family’s lives. Shoulder to shoulder let’s move forward!

Check out some of our friends’ websites:
http://www.paxbaby.com – All about babywearing and carrying, get in touch with activities in the local Los Angeles area
http://www.mamabirdpostpartum.com – Lots of information for new parents from a post partum doula.
http://www.retromodernmom.com – The title speaks for itself. A retro mom living in today’s world.
http://www.rhythmjuice.com – Learn how to swing dance from some of the top instructors in the world

If I missed anyone, or if you are one of the dream chasers post your site in a comment 🙂

Speaking of being artistic; here is a self portrait that Trystan drew at 3 years old.  He ran out of time at daycare so he doesn’t have any arms.

kid self portrait

and here’s a picture of him for comparison:

IMG_2398

 

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