Choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tides – Garth Brooks
I’ve done something incredibly brave, something I never thought I would have the courage to do even though I often imagined it in the four corners of my dreams: I quit my day job. Not only did I quit my day job, but I did so to attempt to be what I feel is my calling: a writer who helps people save and manage their money.
It would have been easy for me to continue driving to the agency four days a week—Monday through Thursday, 7:00-5:30—proudly don the badge, turn on my computer and go about the business of ensuring compliance with our state’s environmental regulations. But I have never aspired to live a cushioned life at the cost of a truly fulfilling one. For however straight-laced, risk-averse, and routine-loving I may be—and I am—I have a healthy rebel inside of me that loves a challenge and that dares to live out her dreams. And I cannot live one part of myself without living the other, though over the last four years of blogging and working full-time I have had to make sacrifices to both. I am a person who needs to give 100% of themselves in their work, and I have felt a drain on both my spirit and my health for more than a year now from being pulled in two different directions.
In the fall of 2011 I was asked to present at the annual air training in Austin for our agency. I was quite honored to be addressing others who were sitting in the same seats I had for the last several years. I knew the material, I was not afraid of receiving questions, but something just did not feel right. Ahead of the presentation I paced back and forth in my hotel room, hands clammy and stomach in painful knots. Of course the outward signs of anxiety were all for naught; the presentation went just fine. But this experience opened up a different path of thinking for me as I began to wonder if it was possible to be very good at something that I might not be meant to do.
We all know that thoughts can change us. Having a steady paycheck deposited into our bank account and shuffling most of that money into savings at the first of each month truly added to my inertia over the last year and a half. But ever since I opened myself up to the possibility of doing this, my thoughts turned into subtle actions, leading me closer and closer to the point where I could confidently take on self-employment. Some of these actions included daring to declare on my home office whiteboard in tangerine-orange marker “I am a freelance writer/blogger”, emailing other bloggers who had taken their careers full-time and asking them about taking the plunge, lifestyle changes, etc., and having my husband check into whether or not I can be added onto his health insurance plan outside of the typical open enrollment time period.
Then two weeks ago on a Thursday I commuted to work like normal. Except that it turned out to not be a typical day at all. As soon as I stepped out of my car and saw the building I had come to intimately know over the last four and a half years I knew that I was no longer meant to be there. I felt a strong calling, stronger and more resolute than one typically feels about anything throughout their wishy-washy 20s. It was like a switch had been turned off. I knew I had to do something incredibly courageous by resigning from a steady job where I had established credentials, but now I also felt that I could do it.
The funny thing is that as soon as I acknowledged this calling, I felt so much peace.
Moving forward, I know that no matter if I succeed or fail I will need to take ownership of it all. Unlike other times in my life where being laid-off thrust me onto a new path whether I wanted to be on it or not, I conscientiously chose this one by taking action and quitting my job. I know that I cannot blame others on my future blunders, just as much as I will not be able to sheepishly pin my successes as pure luck in order to sidestep performance fear. I have no romantic notions about the months ahead and know that they will be quite challenging. So for now, I’ll just enjoy this natural high so rarely afforded by everyday life.
To my readers: Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement. You all are amazing! I love the insights you share about your own lives, as well as encouragement and useful information you leave in the comments section for both me and the community. You all are making this transition and my dream a true possibility and I cannot thank you enough.
Come back for Wednesday’s post where I will talk about changes to the money side of things in our household.