I admit it! When I was a soldier I looked forward to the day that I would remove my combat uniform, and return all my gear back to the military clothing stores. There would be a feel of freedom; the heavy weight that has been pushing on my shoulders will be instantly lifted. I would be able to truly live my life.
And when that day did come, all those feeling and emotions did happen. It was like I was on leave with no end date, all was good. Then about 6 months later, reality began to settle in.
Now even though I was following my plan (focusing on becoming a full time landscape artist), I began to miss certain things from my old life. I actually missed putting on the uniform, the combat boots; I even missed that responsibility that I felt on my shoulders. I know for some of you reading this, you are probably thinking “What is wrong with this guy?” I’ve given it a lot of thought and I have had multiple conversations on this topic. It is a little difficult to explain, but here it goes.
In the beginning I did not fully believe in my purpose. I know I said I wanted to be an Artist. But there is more than just saying it. If I am being totally honest with myself, at the start of my transition from military to civilian, I really didn’t see the purpose or value of being an artist. After all, being an artist is not as important as being a soldier. As a soldier, I felt needed and essential; my work had meaning, a purpose. And an Artist, well that was just something I did in my spare time when I was in the military. Wrong! I do have a purpose as an Artist. Art has the magic to create a reaction in people, it can make them forget their burdens (even if it is just for a short time), or it can provide a happy place for them to escape too, it can start a conversation or make someone speechless. Paintings are powerful and the artists that create them do have an amazing impact on the world.
At that moment I decided that I needed to adapt and overcome. Accept that I am no longer a Soldier, accept that I am now a Veteran, and truly believe that I am not just an Artist but an Artist with a purpose. Life is in a constant state of motion, it does not wait for you to adjust to its changes, and it does not wait for you to catch up to it. It is you and you alone who must decide on how you are going to push forward. I’m not saying that you need to find your purpose immediately. I’m saying that you will need to accept who you were and who you are today, and believe you have a purpose, whatever that purpose might be.
Now when people ask me what I do, I say I am an Artist and a Veteran. If you are unsure about what your purpose may be, don’t worry about it, it will come. But when you do find it, own it! And remember to always Believe in Yourself!