Sometimes life-changing events occur right from the start. Ironically.
I had numerous reasons for quitting my job and pursuing my dream. For one, I had been at the same data entry job for nearly three years. I am not a person who likes to sit. At home I rarely watched TV because I preferred to run around with my two boys, clean my home, go running, play tennis...anything that had nothing to do with my ass adhering to a chair.
Yet, my job required me to sit for forty hours a week without becoming bored and taking a nose-dive into the keyboard.
The job was not the least bit creative, although I found ways to pretty up spreadsheets and templates. It didn't gratify my social needs, of which there were many. And although it paid most of my bills, I was likely to end up spending any savings I might accrue through future carpel tunnel surgery.
Prior to that, I had a few writing jobs. I wrote training material for pharmaceutical representatives, eleventh grade Common Core curriculum, a couple of radio show scripts, and a few news articles for a local paper. I loved all of those stints, but they were project based and at the time I needed a more steady income. And besides, what I really wanted to do was write novels!
A Purpose and a Plan
My time was worth more than minimum wage. For every blouse I purchased, every meal I consumed, every activity I participated in, I counted how many hours of work I needed to do in order to obtain what I wanted or needed.
I started to become addicted to YouTube videos that stressed the need to become confident and strike out on my own. I watched success story after success story. I contacted a man who had branded himself from scratch and made his way up the ladder to security. I received so much information, but when I shared with anyone out in the "real world," I always received the same answer: "Well, don't quit your day job."
Let's talk about this, okay? Because I was so exhausted working from 6 am to 3 pm, then hanging with my kids, helping them with homework, feeding them...there wasn't any time left over for working on my dream. And to be honest, after eight hours on a computer, the last thing I wanted to do was type, write...or do anything that used my tired fingers.
One day I woke up and cried for the loss of my creative self. It really felt as if a part of me was gone forever. I wasn't even sure if there was a me anymore. I wondered if it even mattered that I was alive at all. And that was when I realized I had to make a choice: follow my dream or give up my happiness. The latter being akin to dying.
So I made a plan, and it became a promise to myself. I would save as much money as I could, and then I would quit my day job and write.
And Then Things Went Downhill
I put in my notice at work, and gave them four months to find someone new. But in the end, the company structure changed and it really ended up being the best time to leave. Everything was going so well.
And then, one hot summer day I was outside playing Capture the Flag with my boyfriend, his daughter and my two boys. I was running after my boyfriend with his long, gazelle legs, and I gained some amazing jaguar speed. Unfortunately, I realized I was going too fast for my short little legs to catch up. I faltered. I fell. I crashed.
I broke my collarbone in half.
Everything came to a halt...my dreams, my plans, my pain-free existence. And suddenly I was looking up a tall mountain, my body too broken to climb. And I had no job. No money coming in. And I couldn't move my right arm because it ended up in a sling for over five weeks. So there would be no writing or typing. I was devastated.
Follow my dream or give up my happiness. At what point do I admit defeat?
I cried. I felt as if I'd been slapped for being so impulsive. So optimistic. So sure of myself. I could watch a million motivational YouTube videos, but not one addressed what to do when an unexpected mishap came barreling through. Was this a sign that I should throw in the towel? Be a grown up and take whatever job I could get and let go of all the work I'd done to dream big and become a writer?
But then I told myself, no. I was not going to let this set me back. Once I was able to drive again, type again, dream again, I would continue where I left off. Because I am not a quitter. My ex-husband used to tell me that he admired my "stick-to-it-iveness." Once I get going, I'm unstoppable. Don't believe me? See my credentials. It took a long time to get here, but here I am. I could have stopped at the first fifty rejections I'd received. But nope. Because if one is passionate enough, one will make things happen.
We just have to learn to persevere through the pain.
Last week I started physical therapy. At this time, I am able to type for a few hours at a time with minimal pain. I still don't know if this collarbone will properly heal. I may need to have surgery eventually. Time will tell. But one thing is for certain: I am a writer. I'm a damn good writer. And I might fall, but I will get up again.
Check out my future blog posts as I chronicle my journey to success. And drop me a line. Are you interested in dropping everything for a dream? Is anything holding you back? I want to know.