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WHAT TO SAY WHEN SOMEONE ASKS, “HOW IS THAT GOING TO PAY THE BILLS?”

Why it's important to stand up for your creative dreams!

If you’re anything like me, you knew early on that a degree in science or mathematics was out of the question. Instead of being in laboratories or study halls, you found yourself in art rooms and at local bookclubs. You followed your passion — likely against the advice of your worried parents — and made the choice that you felt was best for you. You only question your choice when you find yourself sitting at the Thanksgiving dinner table or the 4th of July barbecue with that one relative who bombards you with personal questions about your next steps in life. And you gracefully entertain them, knowing that you have nothing to hide, but also because they’re standing in front of your favorite dish. As you reach around them to grab your food and run, they drop the hard question. “Well, how’s that going to pay the bills?”

I have been asked this dreaded question probably about a hundred times and I can tell you, finding the perfect response never gets easier.

The best answer that I have found came from my mother when she overheard someone ask me it at dinner. She said, “however you manage to make money, is the same way she will.” Although this response wasn’t as biting as I would’ve preferred, I realized it was the only answer that would make someone else see how ridiculous and how demeaning their question was. The question had so many underlying messages in it that I was supposed to accept with a polite smile, even though it was wrong. It was implying that what I wanted to pursue wasn’t something worth paying for and that what I was passionate about was somehow a waste of my time.

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But I am here to tell you that your creativity, no matter what form it comes in, is not a waste of time. Without us, creative majors, the world would be absolutely boring. There would be no music, no books and no art. What people who ask that question do not realize is that you are contributing your vision to the world and that does pay off — in more ways than one.

So, when someone asks you, “how’s that going to the bills,” smile and reply the way my mother did. Not with sarcasm or anger, but with confidence and knowledge that what you bring to the world is just as valuable as what everyone else has to offer. No one has the concrete answers on how the future will turn out, but you took the route that too often people are afraid to take. The route that will make you happy and that’s worth more than any paycheck.

Click here to meet creative vinas just like you who are paying their bills with their dreams!

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