I think it can be easy to lose parts of yourself as you get older. There is never a break in the bustle of work and family life, so you make time for these things by compromising your other pursuits. Eventually, you end up losing something you cared so deeply about because you couldn’t find the time to squeeze your passions back into your life. I don’t think this has to happen though. I think if you love something you should still have it be a part of you. For me, I had to fight to keep my creativity.
I had a solid upbringing in Wyoming, Ohio in the 1960s and 1970s. I had no complaints. My father was a chemical engineer and my mother was an English teacher. I got my creative genes from my mother, but an interest in computers from my father. It’s interesting to look back on and see that I’m a mixture of both of my parents, though the creative side always called to me.
I think one of the tricks to sustaining a passion is to surround yourself with people who want you to be successful. I’ve always been lucky to have great groups of friends my entire life who have pushed me to be my best. In high school, my friends asked me to join their local radio show, which helped give me an outlet for creativity. We were a comedy group called the “Six Pistols,” who wrote scripts and sketches and performed them weekly. I had never been given such praise for my creative writing, and my friends welcomed any feedback I could give. Because I was surrounded by positive, invested people, my creativity was able to flourish.
In college, I found another outlet for my creativity: computers. Ever since I was a kid I had always wanted to know more about technology. My earliest memory was the space landing that helped influence my love of science. I also frequently watched Star Trek growing up. I loved it because it was based on hard science, not the fantasy world that Star Wars is. I was enamored with the possibilities that science could demonstrate. Technology could transport us anywhere, replace old ways of thinking, and save lives. I knew I wanted to make this into a career at an early age.
However, my college years weren’t without hiccups. I went to Purdue University to pursue a degree in Computer Science. The college was three hours away in Indiana, so my parents had to pay out-of-state tuition, which I was grateful that they did. I didn’t like the program at first. I considered quitting after my first year, but the friends I made at the school convinced me to keep trying. One of my roommates that was a math major helped tutor in the mathematical parts of the program. With the support of my friends, I made it through and graduated.
The hard work payed off, and I was able to start work with several large firms and companies. The projects were exciting, and the salary was hard to beat. Even so, my creativity felt stifled. At these large companies, everything had to follow the large-scale company protocol, even if it wasn’t the best option for ground-level decisions. People were so entrenched in tradition that they didn’t see the possibilities of the future. The intrigue I felt was beginning to wear off, and I feared that if I settled, I would be unhappy in a job for the rest of my life. I watched my father work the same job his whole life and be happy with it. I thought I’d live the same kind of passion for my career, but I didn’t like the life I was living. Things had to change.
I found the world of start-ups after leaving my last corporate job. The smaller companies had usually been recently created and needed lots of input and feedback to grow and prosper. The opportunity and openness for change were much higher at this level. I could actually create ideas in these types of businesses. My creativity wasn’t shut out anymore. Finally, I had found my fit.
During those corporate years, I found other ways to unleash my creative passions. I enjoyed music as one of the outlets. I played several instruments throughout my life, including the violin, clarinet, and guitar. I used music to express myself outside of the IT world. I even started singing after being recruited by the church choir. Using music to inspire others has always been a passion of mine. My barbershop quartet frequently plays for nursing homes. I love seeing the smiles this brings onto their faces.
I’m currently working for a company that I came into as it was starting up and have a lot of creative freedom for new ideas. I still play music and sing, but I also get to use my creativity at work. It’s what I’ve always wanted.
My family has the same passion for creativity that I have. My son used to sing in the choir with me at our church. My daughter is about to pursue a degree in creative writing in college. I could not be happier for them. I have always said that you must love what you do. It may sound cliché, but I have lived my life by that philosophy.
I dealt with the loss of jobs a few times in my career, but I know that things will work out eventually. If the job ended, it was likely that door was meant to be closed so a better door could open. It is never worth it to worry and stress about a job you hate. If you hated it, then it wasn’t worth it in the first place. I found my passion, and never fully let it go. I always found a place for creativity in my life. If you do what you love and love what you do, you’ll have a blessed life.
This is the story of Dave Doster:
Dave is currently living in Ohio with his wife and two children. He felt that his creativity was stifled in a large corporate setting, so he looked for a way to be creative in smaller start-up companies. He did so by working through start-ups that need creative molding to build it. His children (18 and 22) have followed in Dave’s creative direction as a creative writer and singer. Dave loves Star Trek and the possibilities drawn from hard science. Some of his significant work experiences include being a part of the birth of cloud programming, working with web 1.0 in the early 2000s, and winning a Pinnacle Award for fixing a destroyed project. The award gave him a chance to go to Sweden to receive it. Dave continues to work through creative outlets including some songs on Spotify (Dave Doster).
Love What You Do
I think it can be easy to lose parts of yourself as you get older. There is never a break in the bustle of work and…
Life Log #7