It's never good when you get a text from your best friend that says,
"I don't know if I feel like going out tonight. I'm all weepy and crabby today."
Knowing her, I realize I have two choices:
1. Take her word for it, because when she says she's in a bad mood she means it. No use arguing with her; things will only get worse.
2. Test the waters. Feel her out. Maybe what's bothering her is worth confronting, debunking, even comforting.
I bit the bullet and chose option two.
"What's wrong, love?"
"Oh, probably the weather and I started freaking out about school earlier."
She has decided to quit her full time job working as a customer service representative for a hearing aid manufacturer [what joy] to go to culinary school. The risks are real - she's taking on school loans, she's going to try and juggle school work and a part time job to support herself, not to mention that she's quitting a full time job when more than 8 percent of the country can't even find a part time job. She has every reason to be terrified.
And yet. I've seen her in a slump, exhausted of repeating the same conversation with customers more than 100 times each day. Personally, I'd rather see her bustling around a bakery, whipping up delectable pastries we can devour, even if we gain 100 extra pounds in the process. Hey, since we're talking sacrifices, right?
But it's a toss up, a whole lot of "I don't want to do this part" no matter which path she takes. She doesn't want to work the job she has forever, but she doesn't want to take on debt, risk her financial well-being and her stamina to make it through school.
"What if I fail?" she asked in the car on our way to see my husband play on Friday. Thankfully, she had changed her mind and decided not to wallow in worry over something that's months away.
"I'm sorry, what? You? Fail school?" I asked.
"Yeah! What if I get so frazzled trying to support myself and get through classes that I flunk out?"
A silly question, in my opinion. She, of all people I know, is least likely to fail.
But as I've spent the last several months fiddling with blog ideas and freelance work, I've asked mself the same question about nearly everything.
Grad school: what if I flunk out? So I decide to wait until life "settles down" a little bit. [I have no idea what that means, either.]
Freelancing: I'm not a business person - what if I can't handle the responsibility?
Blogging: what if they don't like what I wrote? What if no one cares about this but me?
I've come to the realization that with any dream job or career path we chose, we have to keep in mind the journey and not just the destination. We have to be willing to ask, how will I get there? And we have to be willing to go the distance.
Freelancing and blogging require a lot of capabilities that I wish I didn't have to think about. I've had to work on a business plan for my freelance work. Did anyone else know that this requires math?! Even with a calculator and guidance from other freelancers I know, my brain hurts. It's excruciatingly painful to admit that my teachers were right [although I have yet to use algebra, mwahaha.]
I've also had to learn HTML coding. Don't get me wrong, I only know a handful of code thingys [is "code phrases" the proper term?] but still, who knew that ugly series of letters and symbols actually did things, and that if you can't figure it out things might disappear?!
And apparently "not being a morning person" is not conducive to productivity. If I could change my biological make up, I would, but for now I'm just trying to find some sort realistic incentive that will convince me that God created 6 a.m. for anything other than sleep.
I can't tell my best friend not to look at the big scary numbers or not to think about how she's going to be able to support herself on a part-time job while she's getting her degree. I can't be a successful freelancer and blogger without coming up with a business plan and crunching my own numbers. I can't even tell her where she'll be at the end of it; she'll have a degree, but will that mean she'll find a job right away?
And will I want to be a freelancer forever?
I mean, aren't I a little young to be thinking about being my own boss?
And think about all the taxes and invoices I'll have to keep track of if I'm going to do this!
And is this blog going to be a part of my writing career for the next 30, 40, 50 or more years?
There's so much responsibility involved, and how will we know for sure that the destination is worth the journey it takes to get there?
We don't have the answers. I don't think we're meant to. But if we're too scared to even ask the question, to pursue the "what if I try this?" then we are choosing to live in the void, the unknown of what could have been.
So here are a few inspirations from around the web to keep you motivated :
I'm officially a Midnight Hustler, are you?
Part of pursuing our dreams requires being selfish.
Writing as an expression of life. I need to read Natalie's book (and Melissa's blog!) more often.
The Literary Ladies' Guide to the Writing Life. A great article and a book I need to get my hands on.