Dev 📓 Journal

Notes and rants.

Stop Trying to Monetize Everything

Lately, I’ve been cooking a ton of “gourmet” dishes. I’m no professional chef, but that doesn’t stop me from practicing. I go all out on the ingredients, merging my fun budget with my food budget so I can afford the best. Farm fresh shallots, capers, imported olive oil, mushrooms with names I can’t pronounce. My plating is my painting. I leave long strokes with my sauces and flourish with my garnish. It’s as meditative as it is delicious.
I post my dishes to Instagram to record my results. And to show off. Mostly to show off. One of my peripheral friends asked if I would be willing to cook for an event she wanted to host. She said she’d pay for everything and even throw in a catering bonus for me. A flattering proposal, but I declined.
Another friend (who is mutual friends with the requester), asked why I refused. “People love your cooking. This is your opportunity to get some recognition.” I told them that I didn’t want recognition. They pressed further, shocked that I would turn down a “good side-hustle.” They concluded that I’m young and should be looking for as many opportunities as I can find. After some back and forth, I finally said, “I’m not doing it because I don’t want to.”
They let it go after that, but the conversation left a sour taste in my mouth. Why turn down an opportunity to do what I love and make money on it? I’ll tell you.

Startup-Bro-Silicon-Valley-YouTube-Vlogger Capitalism Sucks

Entrepreneurial culture has turned every hobby into a profit-potential. In an age where content creation is king, anything you do can be used as kindling for your next “side-hustle.” Seriously, how many side hustles can you have before it’s just a hustle?
The Econ-101 listicle “experts” of the internet will tell you that you can — and should be — constantly thinking of ways to turn what you love into sweet, sweet cash. (And it’s easier now than ever! Just subscribe to this $50 crash course, and you can be on your way to making millions doing what you love.)
There’s a timeless quote that captures how I feel about this.
“ok but y tho”
— unknown internet prodigy
Too often, people married to the “let’s get this bread” attitude forget why they’re grinding in the first place. This is especially true in my age group (mid to late 20s). Everywhere I look, someone is pushing us to find traditional success. And if we don’t? Then we’re labeled as failures compared to the generation above us.
For me, I grind because I want to live. I cook for me, because it’s fun, and it’s something I want to do for me and me alone. (Okay, maybe my partner too since she eats my food.) I don’t cook so I can peacock some half-baked catering business in addition to my 40hr job. I don’t work as hard as I do so that I can go work somewhere else. Maybe some people are into that, but it isn’t me. My guess is that most others out there aren’t either.
Not every facet of life needs or should be making you money. Capitalism’s downfall is that it leaves little room for unbiased curiosity, for fun that isn’t subservient to wealth domination.
It’s nice to make a buck (or even a living) doing something that you love — don’t get me wrong. I’m enjoying the few dollars I make here and there writing on Medium, for example. The problem is our obsession with it as a culture. The flood of everyone turning their “passion” into an Instagram hustle, an app, or a trendy blog is tiring and uninspired.
There’s a certain bliss that comes from enjoying your hobbies just for the sake of it. Own that. I will continue to cook for me, feed off the praise of The Gram, and find catharsis in my amateur plating.

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Devon Wells © 2022