They aren’t us

I was just reading this article on building a business when this bit popped out at me:

… they aren’t us.

They are people who will spend the rest of their lives working to build someone else’s dream.

While we build our own dreams.

It reminded me very distinctly of a number of resonating deep conversations I used to have at local cafés with a fellow graphic designer would-be-teacher like me in South Korea. He used to comment on how people back home had no clue why he’d come to South Korea and basically lived boxed lives: sleep, wake up, work, eat, work, eat, sleep. Rinse and repeat. Everyday. They didn’t understand his need for something more. They didn’t understand that he wasn’t like them. That he needed this change of scenery, of job, of life. That they possibly needed it, too, but would possibly never act upon their dreams. Because he came from a small town, and they were scared of the larger world. Of failing.

This resonated loudly to me. We had both become jaded with our lives. We wanted something different, bigger, better. Inspiring.

Korea had opened our eyes to a world beyond the boxedness of going in to work and doing what we were told to do. We were constantly evolving, living, learning. As “experts” in the language we were given free reign to teach our students in whatever way we deemed best. No questions asked. For my friend and I, who’d been living our whole working lives doing what other people told us with no chance at suggesting different marketing options, this was mind-boggling… and freeing. For the first time we felt valued, and like we could build our lives the way we wanted.

We felt like entrepreneurs. We felt valued. We felt like we were making a difference in other people’s lives. We were building our dream.

We understood people on the other side (of the ocean, of the window, of the divide) but they weren’t us.

These days, I again work in the corporate world, and I know it doesn’t become me. It’s stifling, it’s not me. Don’t get me wrong, I love working. But it’s not me. Bureaucrazy (not a typo) and office drama just aren’t my thing, and I distance myself from much of it. The traditional path isn’t for me. Favouritism and the corporate ladder bore me to tears. Last-minute projects pop up everyday due to limits not being set. Requested tools have been forgotten and I’ve given up asking for them, and trudge without but slowly.

I’m an automaton, and that’s not me.

But I will build my dream. Now I just need to get over some fears.