Every motivational/self help book I have ever read has one thing in common. The Author is always someone or references someone who has decided that they are tired of living an unfulfilling life. They are sick of working a job they hate and they desperately long for change. These people reach a point in their lives where they decide enough is enough and they take that ever so frightening step toward changing the paths of their lives.
I am one of those people.
I am a 37-year-old wife and mother of 2 children. I have a job I like but it is not my passion. I’m overweight. I have a total of 2 close friends. Neither of who I see very often, either due to proximity or conflicting schedules. I live an ordinary life and most of the time I wonder how in the hell I got here.
Once upon at time I had dreams, and not the white picket fence kind. I was going to sing and if that didn’t work out, I was going to become a journalist. But somewhere exceedingly early in life I allowed fear and complacency to suppress those dreams. I lucked into a cozy, part-time office job during my junior year in high school and the rest is history. I spent the next 11 years of my life bouncing from cubicle to cubicle, working for people I wasn’t fond of, in an industry I didn’t choose for myself.
Around 2013, after working for a man who I’m certain was Joseph Stalin in his previous life, I decided It was time to move on even if that meant taking an entry level position with little pay in an industry in which I had zero experience. Within 24 hours of leaving said job I had an interview with a new company and was offered the position three days later.
It has been seven years since I accepted that position and I am currently still employed with that company. I have had several raises and promotions and have worked my way up the chain a bit. But I am still a lifetime away from being anywhere near the top. I am still just a minion.
On particularly memorable Thursday morning a few years ago started off just like any other day. I woke up to the smiling faces of my kids as they crawled into my bed for another round of “Good morning cuddles”. We dressed and gathered our things and headed out the door to begin another long day of mediocrity. I dropped the kids at school and headed into the office. I was sucking down my 3rd cup of black coffee when I received an email that sent me into an internal fit of rage. (I’ll admit I can be a bit dramatic). I started to question many of my life choices. Why did I allow myself to fall into this rut? Why didn’t I pursue what I always thought I would? Why am I continuing to waste my life doing things that don’t make me happy? This wasn’t the first time I’d thought about these things, it wasn’t even the 100th time. These thoughts were becoming an everyday occurrence.
I was venting to my husband via text message, like I always do when the actions of others upset me. I told him how I felt like I had screwed up by not attempting to follow a creative job path and how I now felt like I was stuck kissing up to people I didn’t like for the rest of my life just to earn a buck. I shouldn’t have to be the a** kisser; those people should be kissing my a**. Joking, he replied, “I’m not going to kiss your a**, so don’t ask!” To which I replied, “Bite me.” He said, “I’m not doing that either. 😉” His next text message, although they might seem cliché, had a major impact on me. He said, “Without thinking, answer these 2 questions. If you could do anything, any job, own any business, whatever you want, what would it be?” Without thinking I replied, “Own & run my own bookstore, but we both know, those are becoming obsolete.” He then asked, “If you could go back to school for anything, what would it be?” I typed the first thing that came to mind, “Writing.” And he said, “Then do it.” I then began to spew a series of excuses as to why that wasn’t practical. Cost of school, that fact that a degree in writing doesn’t align with my current career path, etc. To all of which he replied, “You can make as many excuses as you want, or you can look up schools that offer the courses you want. You can research and prepare a business plan and work toward obtaining a business loan. You can get your ideas together and make your dreams come true.”
As much as I hated to admit it, he was right. My excuses didn’t matter. Why did I care if a degree in creative writing didn’t align with my current career path? If I wasn’t satisfied with the path that I was on, that was the time to change it.
Writing has always been in the back of my mind. I can’t tell you the number of times I have sat down in front of my computer with the intention of starting a blog. I reserve the domain and set up the page, but when I sit down to finally put pen to paper, nothing would come out. It wasn’t for a lack of topics. I have a billion ideas swirling around in my head all the time. The issue was that I lacked the tools to take those ideas and turn them into the something great I knew they could be.
After that conversation I spent several hours researching online schools and accreditations and courses and pricing until I finally settled on a school. I submitted a request for information online and within an hour I had received a call from someone at the school who was ready to supply me with all the information I needed to begin my journey. By the end of the day I had applied to school with the goal of earning a Bachelor’s Degree in creative writing and had submitted my information for financial aid.
I am now in my third year at Southern New Hampshire University online, working toward my BA in English & Creative Writing with a focus in fiction and a minor in communications. On the advice of one of my creative writing professors I submitted one of my short stories to the The Penmen Review, an online journal, and in February of 2021 my story was selected for publication on the site. You can find the link to Times Up under the Portfolio option in the menu bar.
I also just recently completed collaboration with a group of fellow writers for The Writing Roles Incentive Training Experience (W.R.I.T.E.). We worked together to create an article aimed at advising novice writers on how they can go about building a writing portfolio. We finished up our final team meeting yesterday and will be submitting the piece today. We are in competition with 14 other groups and the winning article will be published in the Penmen Review and I think we have a good shot!