See that title? Know the answer?—Immediately.
That’s right. Don’t let the other stuff trip you up. You know, the ‘incidentals’ like your job, spouse or significant other, family, debts. That’s right…All the things clamoring for your immediate attention, making it pretty certain that when you’re done each day, you’re a limp, soggy ball, just happy to cradle a cup of tea (or something stronger) in your mitts.
They all play ‘adversary’ in the battle for your creative soul.
Now, I can hear all of you scream: “C’mon now—Be practical. I have to keep a roof over our heads, pay the childcare bills, and buy groceries. I don’t have time for my dreams.”
I’m here to say: “Yes, you do…You have to, if you ever want to escape the mundane, workaday world that you somehow bought into and now can’t find your way out of.” How do I know? I occupied your same space for years.
Case in point: My earlier lifetime. I had a teaching job which guaranteed I had no money but I had a little more time than others. Yep, my school teacher job was demanding during the day and then in prepping and correcting at night (as an English/Journalism teacher, those twin duties took up a lot of outside-school time.)
Then, too, I was a single parent, for much of the time, due to circumstances beyond my control. First, there was that divorce from a husband who never paid child support, meaning I had to take jobs, waitressing or tutoring, and then there was the death of my second spouse, during my older child’s almost-college years. These two circumstances guaranteed I worked second jobs…always.
But at night, instead of watching senseless, mind-numbing TV shows, I wrote. In those hours, I filled whole notebooks. And then, when computers took hold (yes, my young friends, there was a time when they didn’t exist), I really let my thoughts rip because I could type my thoughts onto my computer, even if I accomplished it via two-finger pecking of the keyboard.
I worked on my craft all those years.
And when I finally had the chance—at 53—I began to follow my dream, in earnest. All the practice paid off. I began sending my material out to local newspapers who began publishing it. Then, I aimed higher. Each new step in the ladder was cause for celebration, and I continued.
But I still kept a day job. For another 8 years, I was a professional realtor, another career that demands ceaseless hours. Oh, I was making really good money and it was a heady, new experience, but the cost to make that salary was enormous.
In my sixth year, I had a heart-to-heart talk with myself, asking “Is this what I truly want?” “Do I really want to be one of those people who never realize their dreams?”
And then I answered: “No…” I’d been thinking and preparing my whole life for this writing thing…” Now, I determined to go for it. I didn’t want to be one of those in a nursing home who said, “Well, no, I never got around to my mission in life, because life took me elsewhere.”
I wanted, instead, to chart my own course.
So, here’s my older woman’s advice to those of you who face lackluster jobs: “Identify your dream and feed it, even during the times you really can’t do it, wholeheartedly, due to other demands….
Feed it… even if your feeds are little doses.
Keep your dream alive. Don’t give in to the gods of materialism, for the very real, worthwhile things in this life are never the ones others tout in the commercial world (that’s why so many fall victim to alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide.)
Finally, if you don’t know what your ultimate life course is, don’t despair, for I discovered: My life course actually found me… as long as I kept putting myself out there, honing my craft, doing what I love to do. It’s never so much about ‘luck’ as it is a steadfast attention, over time….
But you’ll need to make those first tentative steps and then “Keep at it.” “Slow and steady” wins the day….the months…the years…You’ve got the lifetime; you just need to start.
That’s your Pep Talk…I’m done.
Now, tell us your thoughts. Do you have a job you’re beginning to hate? What’s your exit strategy, short of quitting? Are you acting on your dream (if even in small doses?) Comment section below, and PS…You can use a fake name, if you choose..Your e-mail address (tho’ required,) is never published. Promise.