When it comes to working, it’s a mixed bag. While we all feel compelled to do something meaningful, it can quickly become abstracted by the inner workings of modern capitalism. However, when we do work that fulfills that need to do something meaningful, it benefits us on a spiritual level. This is why so many of us fall in line and want to be rock stars and otherwise pursue fame. We see that person, that creator, and we internalize that as the ideal job as a result. However, this is not necessarily the case, but it serves as a good analogy. We often encourage young people to give up on their dreams for practical reasons, and that’s a shame. My dad, when I was growing up, offered me more of a compromise. Work on what you love, but work for a paycheck. This, and a number of other factors led me down a road of mostly just working for a paycheck and, by my own struggles with mental illness, letting my dreams fall to the wayside.

However, recently, I’ve have a second wind of sorts, and I’m currently drawing more and finally writing a novel. The thing about following your dreams, within the framework of maintaining a living wage, is that it follows Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to a tee. You prioritize the more important needs like food (work) and save self actualization (accomplishing your personal goals) for when everything else is taken care of. However, putting your dreams on hold entirely only increases the odds that you’ll be without the skills necessary to jump back in when the time comes, and you may abandon it soon thereafter due to frustration. This is why you should, instead, strive to make more of your leisure time “work” on your hobby of choice so that you can develop that skill without taking away from your ability to provide for yourself.

So, my advice to anyone and everyone is to do just that: work on both making and saving money and developing the skills of your hobby in order to more easily fulfill your dreams once you can afford to invest more time and energy into it. As such, I also recommend taking certain steps that, of course, vary from hobby to hobby, from dream to dream, to ensure some manner of success moving forward. For example, if you want to run a website, grab a domain name from Namecheap sooner, rather than later, and work toward building it gradually. In my case, as an aspiring novelist, my advice to my past self would be simply to write as much as you can without worrying too much about quality. That way, you have that foundation to build off of later and can write your perfect novel gradually while you focus on survival.