This post has been a long time coming (which sounds a lot more dramatic than it needs to be; what can I say? Writer).
The first couple months of this year, I was low. I don’t know what it was, although I think the majority of it was dissatisfaction at my job and fear for the future. I also hadn’t written in forever, and worried that I never would.
I applied to grad school, got in, and prepared for a non-writing life.
Then my birthday happened. I had originally prepared a post that explored my psyche—I’m posting it here (birthday post), because I do actually think it’s a good peek into where my head is always at, even if it’s a bit whiny and entitled (what else do you expect from me?).
But a funny thing happened on the way to the posting… I woke up on my birthday feeling different. I felt hopeful. So I wrote a teeny spontaneous posting of hope, of renewed determination.
And the next time I went into work, I asked to switch to a different job (with less pay and less hours). My boss informed me it would be seasonal, and would end at the end of the summer—I took it anyway.
I essentially quit my job with six months notice.
At the time, I hadn’t written words in years, I had no idea ready to go, I had no clue whether I would ever even be able to write. But it was all I ever wanted, and I wasn’t happy at my job and was going nowhere, and I figured if I’m ever going to do it, do it now.
I hoped to maybe be starting a draft by the time my job ended. I told myself if I was still in the same place, spinning from idea to idea with nothing, I would start looking for a new job by the end of the summer. Instead, I ended up writing a whole novel in two weeks in July. In a lot of ways, my drastic plan to quit my job to write without having written anything actually worked—I wrote, in a way I never had before. The fact that since then it’s been an emotional roller coaster doesn’t actually matter. I wrote a book, my dream.
And today is the last day of my job.
I didn’t want to write about the fact that I had already quit before now because… well, I have a lot of mixed emotions about it. On the one hand, I’m proud of myself for taking the gamble and pursuing my dreams full-time. On the other hand, I realize I come from a place of privilege and ignorance that allows me to do this—and it might end badly, with me crawling back for whatever job I can get. I also realize that people every day achieve their dreams safely and smartly while in the midst of a real job, and who am I to think I don’t have to do that?
I don’t know. I’ve faced a lot of weird looks and confused questions when I explain that yes, I quit my job; no, I’m not going to get another one; and what I’m going to do is “write.” That’s okay; I’m not following the conventional path.
These kinds of stories, the “quit my job to follow my dreams” stories, sound really good when they work. They inspire us to do the same. We don’t hear the ones that fail…
I don’t know yet which side I’ll end up on—maybe my story will be more cautionary than inspirational. But that fear is not going to stop me from taking the risk, gambling it all, trying my best.
Living the dream.
I think this sort of situation is different for everyone, and you have to do what’s best for you. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It’s your life so live it how you want to. I went to 9 years of college to become a healthcare practitioner. I don’t want to specify exactly what I do because that would give away my identity. But I couldn’t work after I graduated because of my health issues and multiple hip surgeries. I’m interviewing for jobs now that my health has improved. I’ll have less time to write, but I feel lucky because I like my career. I can work part-time and still make $70,000 per year XD I did manage to write while working 60-80 weeks, which I don’t think I could do anymore, lol. I also beta read too. Craziness XD So yeah, I’ll see how things go with the job. I love writing, but I also love my career. I feel lucky that I’m in a position where I can do both 🙂
I think you are lucky–I’m jealous!! 🙂 At some point, reality will dictate that I need to get a job, and I hope I can find something that I can in some ways enjoy. Until then, my focus is on my “real work.”
Thanks for commenting!