Adult life is funny.
For the longest time, I didn’t have a clear plan for it. I was born, went to kindergarten, hit puberty—man, did that suck—went to high school, and dabbled a bit in college with vague life-y, career-sounding ideas. You know, all the stuff you hear pays well or sounds exotic.
The first Indiana Jones movie back in ’81 had me convinced I was going to be an archaeologist. You couldn’t pay me to stay anywhere other than a hotel these days. A tent in the middle of nowhere is out of the question. I also gave up on dreams of nun-hood after the 2nd grade. That was my last year in Catholic school because we could no longer afford it. Frankly, there was nothing religious about my desire. The only reason I wanted to was a mild 2nd-grade nun-crush/teacher-worship for the gentle and über pious Sister Teresa. The only nun costume I am willing to wear nowadays is a naughty one at Halloween. And I’m sure if Sister Teresa were around she would just be washing my mouth out with soap all the time and explaining how disappointed in me The Big Guy is.
So in all that time of getting my edu-muh-cation on, not once did I think that my passion—all the years of short stories and poetry jotted down in diaries and journals and that creative writing class—was supposed to be anything more than a hobby.
I did a bunch of things I didn’t want to for money. Let me clarify here: Legitimate and entirely legal things. Learned a lot about several industries. Met some fabulous people, many of whom are still friends. I’m certain there is probably a frenemy or two as well. That comes with my natural tendency toward satire. Did you know that die-hard proponents of office politics abhor satire and sarcasm? Because, yes, they do. I started writing again, and that’s when I first dabbled with self-publishing in search of fulfillment. We’ll call what I was doing back then dabbling because it sounds nicer than “had no idea what I was doing but thought, what the hell, why not take a blind stab in the dark at it.”
Then came the coup de grâce:
Suffering a lovely, mildly humiliating cubicle-and-overtime scented panic attack at the age of 44. Partly my fault, as it was from the stress of working way too much mandatory O.T. for a place I no longer enjoyed and for people who cared even less about my mental health than I did. And that was a special level of not giving a sh*t right there; seriously, Swarovski-encrusted kudos wrapped in a white Tiffany bow to them for having attained that level of indifference. Feel free to revisit the satire section of the previous paragraph should you have any questions.
So I became a wiser individual after that, meaning I left. And I seriously dedicated myself to learning the things I should have (about the business and practice of writing) back in school. Then Mom passed away, and that was just one more confirmation of how precious life was and how important it was that I do something with my life other than collecting a paycheck and hating the people who kept sending weekly “Thank you for your flexibility. More overtime is coming next week. Thanks for that, too.” emails along with it.
And now I am an author, a blogger, a freelance writer, and a much happier person. One who is happy to put in long hours because I finally love who I am and what I am doing.
If you read this all just to humor me and nothing struck a cord with you here, believe it or not, I am incredibly happy for you. As a matter of fact, congratulations. You, sir or ma’am, are a well-adjusted, happy worker bee. Your feet are on the right path and your eyes are on a prize that matters to you.
If not, take it from me: Fear of change is natural. Allowing yourself to stagnate and suffer, wallowing in that fear, year after year, is worse. Listen to that little voice whispering to you about the lack of fulfillment. That burning need to find a place where you belong—mind, body, and soul—and where you want to make a difference is not imaginary, and that little voice doesn’t get any quieter. The whisper eventually becomes a weird facial tick, one that makes even homeless people cross the street to avoid you, and then it becomes a spectacular, technicolor 3 to 5 star nervous breakdown. So go ahead and do yourself a favor. Take a good, hard look at your routine and your surroundings, and start thinking seriously about who you are, and who you want to be. It’s the rest of your life, and that life is short and incredibly precious.
Don’t waste it.
*Check out more of my writing on Amazon.*