Yes, that ever so taboo subject that us, especially creatives, cringe at the very idea of. Money? What? To be paid for services rendered. Me? A service? How dare you.
Having been raised in a family that taught me that money is hard to earn, that the pain of ones broken back is the measure of money deserved, I had always struggled to get a grip on the subject. That is until I began to understand less about numbers and more about what they represent. A form of thinking that made it crystal clear to my fluffy clouded rainbow covered mind. Money is a measure not of the services I render, but of the belief I have in my self-worth. Of the belief in myself and also the respect I have for the work I do. Us creatives, I think, struggle with pricing our work, not only because it is something non-tangible and elusive but because a lot of the time we have so much fun doing it. We feel guilt when the project is really good and grateful just to be given the opportunity.
And sure, it's easy to blame the client. They wanted it cheaper, they wanted it faster, they wanted more. Of course, they did. Don't pretend to be surprised. The question is not what they want, the question is what will you do about it? But we don't have the budget. Find it. But there are so many other designers out there doing it cheaper. Hire them. But it'll be good for your portfolio. I'm full up. But please just do it and I'll pay you later. Fifty percent deposit and we can begin. And sure, you're like, she's balsy and ungrateful. No I'm not. My motivation has never nor will ever be the money. It has always been the work. Keep in mind that the client doesn't really understand what they are paying for and that the only language you have in common is the numbers. They need to find the budget because when they do (and believe you me, if they are serious they'll find it), they will have actively participated in the project itself and will have taken the same amount of risk as you have. This breeds a common ground and a common goal. It also breeds respect from both parties and a desire for success because both of you have worked equally as hard to achieve it.
The end goal is to create good and long-lasting work and the only way to achieve that is to protect it even if that means losing the project or the client, or quite bluntly, as my mother would say, one plus one equals two, not three.
Youth is not a time of life - it is a state of mind; It is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over love of ease. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years; people grow old only by deserting their ideals.
Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair - these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust.
Whether seventy or sixteen, there is in every beings' heart, the love of wonder, the sweet amazement at stars and the starlike things and thoughts, the undaunted challenge of events the unfailing childlike appetite for what next, and the joy and the game of life. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear, as young as your hope, as old as your despair.
So long as your heart receives messages of beauty, cheer, courage, grandeur and power from the earth, from man and from the Infinite, so long you are young. When the wires are all down and all the central place of your heart is covered with snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then you are grown old indeed and may God have mercy on your soul.
So here we are, having fulfilled our summertime prerequisites. We swam, we ate, we drank. Those with families held their breath searching for a moment of peace. Those single, attempted yet another bar and yet another drink searching amongst the crowds for a memory to be made. Those in love sunk deep into each other. The workaholics forced themselves to rest and just like their adrenaline-fueled routines they ticked yet another thing off the list: must holiday. Tick.
Belonging to the workaholic crowd, I too allowed myself this summer to force a holiday. Three full weeks. It wasn't the best I ever had, but it served its' purpose. I rested. Mentally and physically. And now here I am, a week into reality and it feels like not a day has passed. The crowds are slowly coming back and Athens is filling with its usual angry and frustrated citizens. This year, having created this extra reservoir of energy for myself, I dived deep into organisation mode motivated by post-holiday ambition. Files and folders filled with new pieces of paper, emails and desktops cleared, long deliberations over the alphabetical or numerological ordering of my life. Very important, important, not important. Delete. To post, not to post, to call not to call, most important project, best client, worst client, must definitely call client. Money in, money out, money paid, money owed. All in a desperate attempt to create some sort of control. A wishful thinking list of dealing better with my life this time.
Thing is, life cannot be put into a folder. Nor can day to day emotions be put into alphabetical order. We do try though, and sure it does help, maybe even on an existential level. An archive to remind us that we lived. That we paid our bills on time and that we did the right thing. This year I have decided to add a new folder to my colour co-ordinated filing system. This folder will have a sticker on it that writes: JOY. In capital letters. Just like all the other folders. In it though, there will be no papers and nothing to tick off, no best nor worst, no bills and no receipts. In it there will only be the hope that this year I might have some.