Ok, so I’m panicking. I quit my job so I can write full time and I am freaking out. Mostly because our finances are taking a hit for this move. There are two sides to the freak-out session. First, I keep thinking, “What did you just do? You had a decent job that paid half-way decent money and you just ditched it. Are you crazy?” If I let myself follow this track for too long I become more and more crazy. I start thinking about begging for my old job or maybe working at McDonald’s. I start worrying about taking care of the kids. I begin to get teary-eyed and start feeling like I was being tremendously selfish for quitting like I have. I mean, how are we going to take care of things? Steve has a great job. His check covers what we need. I just worry about giving the kids what we WANT to give them. How are we going to send them to camp? How are we going to pay for college, how are we going to take care of the myriad number of little nickel-and-dime-type things that raising kids involves? I mean, there is karate, there are music lessons, there’s baseball, there are field trips, museum passes and the like. WHAT DID I DO? WAS THIS THE MOST SELFISH MOVE I HAVE EVER MADE?
This leads me to thinking about how this is such a first-world problem. There are many people who struggle to find jobs to put food on the table. They give up time with their families to provide what is needed for those very families. Their children don’t get to spend time with them, except for the briefest of moments saying goodbye in the morning and goodnight at night (and that’s only including those that work first shift). How many latch-key kids are there out there because both their parents work to provide them with clothing, food and shelter? I was lucky to have the job I had. It allowed me to (for the most part) see my family and also help them to achieve their dreams. Steve and I have been fortunate to be able to provide experiences and activities for our children that supplement their day-to-day experiences of school and home.
The second part of my “freak-out session,” involves my confidence. I wonder what I was thinking when I quit to write. I could have written part time, couldn’t I? Why did I quit to write? Do I really think I can become the next Stephen King? If I do, perhaps I should have remembered that good ole’ Steve King held down several jobs during the course of pursuing his chosen career. He taught and he worked in a laundromat just to name two. Why did I need to quit again? I haven’t done any writing for pay since my days in college. True I loved it, but it has been a while…like 23 years or so. I’m also not all that confident about some of the nuts-and-bolts of writing. My content can be pretty okay, but knowing the style, punctuation and grammar rules is not always my strong suit. Shouldn’t a writer be good at that stuff? Shouldn’t I be an expert in that in fact?
Then I take a breath and try to remember that this move was never about the money. We knew that there would be a proverbial tightening of the belt involved. We knew that my quitting was going to involve some adjustments. So I guess that part of the adjustments we are making is to think about work in a different way. Maybe work isn’t only what is paid for? Maybe work is the passion that we pursue throughout our lifetime. Maybe if we can create something of value from nothing that is important work too.
I feel like I have something to share with those who will listen. Maybe something I say will resonate with you. Maybe it’s about my son Thomas. Maybe it’s about marriage and family. Maybe it’s about what it takes to pursue an authentic life. I don’t know. I just know that I have to try this path out and see what comes. I keep hearing how the children in a family can’t truly be happy unless they know their parents are happy. I wasn’t happy not writing.
Some would say that to pursue a career path, particularly a NEW career path, they have to jump wholeheartedly into it. So perhaps immersing myself in writing and everything to do with it will lead me to my next opportunity. Maybe I can develop a presence in my writing that others can relate to. I hope that you can see a little of your own struggle in what I am doing. I hope that you can relate, even if only a little.
At any rate, I took the plunge. I left a job that was not fulfilling me. I picked a direction. Now that I’ve picked my direction, I’m going to run with it. Want to put your sneakers on and run with me?