In 2005, Steve Jobs delivered a commencement speech at Stanford University reiterating the importance of doing what you love and trusting your gut:
"Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts . . . Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later."
I can't help but to feel the same exact way as Steve Jobs might have felt right now. Today, I received news that I would be receiving an integrative nursing practice grant in the coming year to use hand-lettering as a form of therapy for oncology patients during disease treatment. Words can't capture how excited I feel! I still feel like it hasn't sunk in and decided a good idea would be to write it out so that it might materialize in my mind.
Ever since graduating, I've been learning more and more about the world of hand-lettering. I've learned new techniques, tried my hand at new programs, bought a new laptop, printer, camera, and studio kit to learn how to market my products well, and even considered quitting one of my jobs just to actively pursue it more. I challenged myself to try out new styles and followed countless hand-lettering artists on Instagram just to broaden my visual base. Needless to say, I was feeling super inspired in these beginning months. I knew I had challenges, having to put myself out there and never having any marketing experience. But I did it anyway. By now, you could probably predict that this endeavor failed. I made cards, took pictures, made shirts, took pictures . . and then made more cards! But my so-called Etsy dreams never really got anywhere.
It wasn't until one of my coworkers brought up the idea of applying to a practice grant that a light flickered in me again. For months, I'd been trying to find a way to merge my passion for nursing and lettering. I had tried to volunteer at Dana Farber's art center before but couldn't commit due to scheduling conflicts. Here was another chance, and I knew I would regret it if I didn't try one more time.
I felt silly applying for the grant because it is, at its simplest form, doodling. But I knew that if it could bring solace to me, it could bring solace to others during a time of immense need when they might be too apprehensive or anxious to express how they really feel to their loved ones. So I sent it. And I got it.
This is a huge deal to me. Two things I love in life, colliding. Two beautiful art forms clinking glasses. I can't help but feel like this is the reason why I stuck with hand-lettering all this time. For anyone unsure of how to make things happen, trust your intrinsic path. It's better to do what feels right for you. When you do what feels right for you, you feel better, happier.
And happiness attracts good energy.