Last week marked two years since I bought my Macbook Pro. This anniversary hit me with a pang of nostalgia (no surprise, I am a sap), so here are some thoughts on how my Mac has changed my life.
Thursday, August 7, 2014 was a huge day for me: the day I got my Mac. For thousands of people, owning a Macbook is no big deal—they were raised in family who drove around Subaru Foresters with an Apple sticker on the back windshield, or they were supplied one by work, or received one for Christmas. For me though, purchasing my Macbook was nothing short of one of the most important moments of my life. That probably sounds vain, or materialistic, or dramatic…but in reality, it’s true!
The decision to use most of my savings to purchase my Mac was something that I wrestled with for weeks and weeks. I remember going on countless walks with my poor mom to endlessly discuss the pros and cons of the purchase. “I feel bad using my money for this.” “People at school will think I’m pretentious.” “I’m not good enough to have a Mac!” “What if I get it and discover that I actually suck at design?!” “I’m not sure I’m talented enough to use my money for this.”
It wasn’t just spending a big sum of money that caused me so much hesitation in the design—it was the thought that I wasn’t good enough or worthy enough to own a Mac. When faced with putting a price tag on the pursuit of a dream, I began to question whether it all was worth investing in. All I could consider was whether or not my design skills and interest in becoming a better designer were valid, or if I was just a fake—only pretending to be good at something when really the jig would soon be up and everyone would discover that the thing I said I had loved, I was actually terrible at. Could I really invest my money in a tool that I ultimately didn’t deserve? Could I make the decision to invest in my interest? Wasn’t that selfish, even foolish? Who did I think I was?!
I argued with myself for weeks on whether or not I could take the plunge to buy the Mac, get new design literature, and subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud. While a designer can DEFINITELY still be a designer without any of these things, for me investing in these various products was effectively my declaration to the world that I loved design, believed I could get better at it, and viewed myself as worthy enough to pursue something I thought only really cool, hip, raw-denim-jeans-wearing people could do. I only owned stretch clearance jeans from the Gap outlet! I had never been to Ikea! I didn’t even own an iPhone!
Buying my mac, the design books, the software—was symbolic. It was an act that would require me to put faith in myself, to silence the self-doubt, and to embrace the risk. It was an investment I struggled with, but one I am grateful I chose to make.
Ultimately, investing in this machine helped me to see that I needed to stop being my own worst critic and start believing that my hopes and dreams and aspirations were worth it.
Aside from enjoying the pure user-friendliness and efficiency of the laptop itself, investing in my computer has allowed me to take what was just a hobby and turn it into a huge part and passion of my life. Since I bought this thing two years ago, I’ve gotten the chance to design posters for concerts, human trafficking lectures, and theatrical productions. I’ve made prototype websites, brand books for fake museum exhibits, and designed wedding invitations for more than 10 couples. Some of my most frustrating moments have been had sitting in front of this laptop, and some of my most rewarding ones have been had, too. Ultimately, investing in this machine helped me to see that I needed to stop being my own worst critic and start believing that my hopes and dreams and aspirations were worth it. I’ve learned so much more than how to better use InDesign and Photoshop: I’ve learned how to believe and then practice the thought that I’m not some poor excuse of a creative, and show that my/our creativity matters.
Two years later, I can look back and say that my Mac has changed my life. Making the decision to pursue design seriously has allowed me to experience and learn so many things. It’s better connected me with mentors, friends, and exciting ideas, and given me hope that each of our interests and talents and hobbies can be used to better this world in their own unique way. It’s made me realize that God doesn’t hand out interests or passions without reason—there is a purpose behind our excitement about a great set of icons from The Noun Project.
I hope someone who is on the cusp of a decision to invest in their passion makes the choice to look at self-doubt and say, “Not today.”
I don’t know if these thoughts resonate with anyone out there, but I hope they do. I hope someone who is on the cusp of a decision to invest in their passion makes the choice to look at self-doubt and say, “Not today.” You can decide that the time and money are just not worth it, and you can keep both. But looking back, was the extra downtime spent watching Netflix and the extra money just sitting dormant in your bank account really worth it? Sure, there is risk in investing in yourself, investing in creativity, investing in hopes and dreams. But if you choose not to take the risk, you might be missing out on the pure joy that comes when you realize that you’re doing what you were created to do. I would choose that joy and fulfillment over $2,000 and a few less gray hairs any day of the week.
So whatever it is that’s holding you back, it’s time to say, “Not today.” You might not feel like you have the time, the money, or the talent. But you don’t have to be the next Massimo Vignelli right now to say that you want to try getting better at design. You don’t have to be able to play like Jimi Hendrix to get that new guitar. You don’t have to craft prose like David Foster Wallace to decide to dedicate time to your love of writing. You just have to show up ready to learn, ready to grow, ready to let the very act of deciding to take a risk on creativity change you.