Then the balloon popped, and I am loving life as a guy who "draws for pleasure" only.
What happened? A combo of things, I suppose. In no particular order, some of them are:
A friend of mine the other day mentioned that he "plays guitar for pleasure." Meaning he has no intention of ever forming a band or putting out a CD or anything. When I heard that, I thought, that is an awesome line to draw. "Hey, it's for pleasure." Kind of like eating cake. For pleasure.
I realized that in my generation, or maybe it is my own personal surrounding culture or whatever, there is this sort of unspoken ideal of "making your hobby your career." All of a sudden I realized that I had been letting this ideal hang a weighty shadow over my life for years. Possibly since after college. Maybe even during college. The measure of a career doesn't have to be how much it coincides with your hobby or hobbies, though. I finally realized that the measure of a career, the measure of success, can be things like: do you make people happy? Do you get to use a skill set that you excel at? Do you enjoy your work environment? Do you like your work location? Are you able to support a family? Do you feel physically ok during and after work (no back aches, no fatigue, etc.)? Things like that. They are all valid, and probably more realistic than the measure of "how much does your job reflect your hobbies" or "how famous does your job make you?" And at this point, I am "succeeding" in all of those areas.
I don't like people telling me what I have to, should, or cannot draw. Keeping drawing as a hobby preserves that awesome freedom.
And last, and possibly least, but still pretty awesome is this: I feel pretty proud of my job. It's hard for me to praise myself, especially in public, because I just feel that it sounds kind of arrogant and stupid, but I have to say, being a Japanese to English language translator is pretty cool. It requires a high level skill set in two very different languages. It's pretty awesome. Though the pay isn't up there with a doctor or lawyer (at least for me!), I really feel that, at least in my own head, the prestige definitely is. I work with extremely high profile companies in an overwhelmingly huge array of fields. A lot of the translated documents, commercials, catch copy, web sites, contracts, games, comics, articles, etc. circling around in universities, businesses, and the government were crafted by me. I decided on the terminology. I decided on the mood of the translated document. I really, really, really hate to "toot my own horn," so it's not something I talk about a lot, but I bring it up here because feeling like you are kind of a rock star in your day job is a great and satisfying reason to let drawing exist only in the realm of hobby-ism.
Of course, if someone wants to pay me for art, I'm not going to say no! And I still plan to put out both online and physical comics. And I still draw a lot every day. In fact, I probably draw more and definitely enjoy it more now.
I guess I am a pretty hard core hobbiest.