Saturday, May 28, 2011

Going for it!

  Now I've gone and done it! I quit a perfectly fine job with perfectly fine paycheck and perfectly nice co-workers during a time when a lot of folks can't find work at all. Am I crazy? Why did I do it? I'll tell you why and leave it up to you (and Time) to pass judgement.

   I did it because I'm just too damn old to put off following "The Dream". You know what I mean! That dream I had when I was young of who I was and where I was going and what I was going to do and who I was going to be. That vision I had of the life I was meant to lead. That back-burnered dream that simmered all those long years I spent doing other things and following others' dreams. I'm surprised it wasn't burnt!

   I did it because I finally realized I don't have all the time in the world to get around to that life anymore. I'm too old (56, in case you're wondering) to mess around spending the majority of my time doing other things. I realized that nice 9-5 (well, 8:00-5:30) job was my life. After 45 hours a week, plus commute, plus house-cleaning and errands on the weekend, there was not much time to spend on the things that were really important to me; my art and my writing. In other words, the most important things in my life got the "short shrift". The "lick and a polish". Suddenly, things seemed off balance - all out of whack!

   I did it because nobody else is going to make that dream come true but me. No one is going to come along and "discover" me while I'm sitting in an office. No one is just going to hand me the life I want. It's going to be hard work creating that life. I know that. I'm used to working hard. I worked hard as a mom of three young children with a husband out of town months at a time. I worked hard as a teacher in a year round school, caring for others' kids while raising my own. I worked hard to facilitate other people's dreams in several companies, while trying to improve my own little part of their machine to make it run smoothly.

   I did it because now it's time to work hard for me.

   Now, I'm not saying I've totally wasted my time. All along I've kept my hand in at the things that mattered. I usually ended up incorporating some part of my dream in every job - mostly through writing manuals or policy. I did manage to finish a 400 page juvenile fantasy novel, but I didn't get it published. I wrote and illustrated cute little Coloring Storybooks that I put together myself. I created original works of art here and there for myself or my kids. I created a website ( if you're curious!) with  hundreds of free coloring pages - mostly drawn by myself. I opened an etsy store and put a few items on it. Made a few sales here and there. Enough to make me think, for awhile (actually for a long while) that I was living that dream, that I really was following my true path in life.

   But I wasn't. It was all done piecemeal - a little bit at a time, or in a rush on a weekend  - creating my own deadlines that no one else cared about - just so I could live a little bit of that life that I felt I was meant to lead. Just enough to keep me going spiritually. Just enough to lull me into thinking my life had meaning. 

   What happened? Why did I suddenly, Matrix-like, wake up? I'm not really sure what did it. One thing that happened was I got a literary agent for the novel - a stroke of luck, really. A friend of my son's took a look at it as a favor and realized it actually was good. My book should be published in about a year, but until then there won't be any money just rolling in. So, why couldn't I wait it out on the job just one more year? Why couldn't I just keep punching the clock and taking the paycheck?

   I don't know, exactly. Suddenly, I just could not wait to live my life any longer. Suddenly that perfectly fine job with the perfectly fine paycheck and the perfectly fine co-workers seemed like a drug that was keeping me sleeping my life away, day after day, year after year, decade after decade. Suddenly, I felt like I no longer belonged to that life -and that by continuing to work there I was just pretending to be part of the group, while in my heart, mind and soul I was off living my dream. It didn't seem fair to my employer, my co-workers or to myself - although it certainly would have been more practical!

   And so, here we are. I took a leap. Am I crazy? I guess we'll see...

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