|"Carpe Diem" by Claudia Alves | RedBubble|
It's funny how synchronicity works. Angela Guillaume is also blogging on this topic today. If you haven't visited her blog recently, you're missing out. She's a fantastic writer with great insights.
I rearranged my schedule. Drastically.
I've mentioned it in passing, but perhaps this is something that deserves a post of its own. I quit my day job on September 30th and I'm now officially unemployed. Why (oh why oh why) did I do this, you ask? The great majority of people I know think I went crazy, had a burn-out or something, lost it. Even those who congratulate me and give a little sigh of something that could--just might--be envy, think what I'm doing is nothing short of bizarre.
Is it? Probably. Actually, I'm certain it is. Because the main reason I quit is because I want to write.
Oh Lord, you're thinking. There goes another crazy person thinking she can make a living out of writing. But I'll tell you now--no, I'm not that naive. I know the chances of my novel (my first novel) making the bestseller lists, or even getting published at all, are, to put it kindly, slim. I do know that. I kid myself not. And I do have a mortgage, and bills to pay. And now you're thinking--my God, she really DID lose it.
What am I doing? WHAT. AM. I. DOING. My priorities were totally skewed, totally out of synch. My relationships were suffering, my plants were barely holding on to the green, my dogs were gaining weight and becoming ADD. My soul was shriveling. Oh no. No, no. This, I realized, is not the life I envisioned for myself.
For years I'd been locked in the circle of "someday I'll". Someday I'll write. Someday I'll have time to take the dogs to the beach for more than a few minutes. Someday I'll research the family history (I have a very wacky family that will one day come to you in a beautifully bound book of hysterical and heart-wrenching stories). Someday I'll have time to take a weekend off with the boyfriend. Someday I'll... Sound familiar? I bet it does.
And here's the clincher: what if I don't live long enough to make it to that someday? What if I die today, or tomorrow? I don't want to die at this desk, in the midst of all these files, among these people without a soul.
So I quit.
My last day in the office, September 30th, I felt a little under the weather. Raspy throat, bit of a headache. In the late afternoon I realized I was running a fever. Damn, I thought, my first weekend of freedom and I'm coming down with the flu. But it wasn't the flu. It was a bad bout of bronchitis that knocked me down for ten days and took an additional week to recover from. I firmly believe that it was my body's way of saying, "we NEED to rest." So I did. I rested, slept 14 hours a day or more, barely even read, certainly didn't write. And it helped. Enormously.
This requires a substantial amount of self-discipline. Do I have it? Probably not. Can I do this? I believe I can. Why? Because I'm going to give it my best shot. And in the end, that's what it's about. We all have the power to do marvelous things, and we do them, every day. Think of the mothers that run households, chase toddlers and hold down a job. Think of the businessmen that juggle office politics and customer service and income and budgets and pleasing the boss without pissing off employees. Think of the supermarket cashier that bears the drudgery of that job without complaining because there's a family to be fed, a child to put through college, an ailing mother that needs health insurance. We all do these things, work these miracles. The challenge is to choose your miracle, to choose the life you want to lead, and then work your ass off for that and nothing else.
That's what I'm doing now.