In many ways, the choices we make design the shape and substance of our lives. Anywhere from things like what I should eat for breakfast, to where I should live, or what career to pick, or who to marry… These are all choices that we make that make us. If I choose to eat healthy, I feel good. If I choose to marry the right person, I get to have a friend and a happy home. If I choose the right career path, I get to enjoy my day to day grind. This also means that the quality of my life depends on my ability to make the right choices… for me.
When I wrote Finding Your Life’s Offenders, I talked about the ingredients of happiness: having people to love, enjoying my job, spending free time doing something fun. And all of these three components heavily depend on the choices I made in the course of my life. Overall, I was a pretty good choice maker. I chose the right man to be my husband, I surrounded myself with friends I love, and I created a small home for ourselves, one full of heart.
For many years, however, I did not enjoy my day to day grind at work. My career choice did not fit me as well as I originally hoped. I am a daughter of a musician and a dreamer at heart. My choice of becoming a lawyer was surprising to many of my friends. In reality, though, it is not unusual for a creative person to choose to pursue a legal career (or any conventional career) over a creative one. Fear of uncertainty and failure inside this endeavor ends up being our guide. For me, coupling my fears with the circumstances of being a brand-new immigrant, having no money and a family to provide for (you can read my story here), the choice of putting my dreamer self aside and study law made sense.
For many years following my graduation from law school, the amount of stress, pressure and worst of all, lack of a creative outlet made me feel absolutely miserable. For so long, I tried to ignore the issue. I spent years trying to patch it up with “me time”, but nothing worked. Eventually, I had to face the fact that I was at a major crossroads again. Should I make a career switch? You would think that after describing how “absolutely miserable” my day to day grind was, the decision to make a career switch was an easy one, but it wasn’t. It was actually quite agonizing!! As much as I knew that I didn’t want to do what I did, I thought how the job was stable, paid well, and I knew the craft in the back of my head. The alternative was what? To explore creative endeavors without any knowledge of a new business or assurance of success? Oh, if I only had a crystal ball!!
Finally, I gathered up all my courage, pulled out my yellow pad, and drew a line down the middle. I tried to come up with reasons for and against each alternative. It didn’t take long to figure out that the decision had to come down to financial security. Quitting a well-paid job for some lucrative dream of a creative living. The agony of the decision-making process, in its condensed form, looked something like this in my head:
life is a journey, and if I don’t enjoy it, what’s the point? What am I thinking about?! I am not 15 and have responsibilities to my family. What if V (my husband) loses his job? Will I be content with not being able to spend money? Well, too often I spend money to make myself feel good, so if I feel good, then I won’t need to spend money. But really, will I be okay not to have an option to spend, at least for a while? Everyone will think I’m insane, or even worse, a fool. But then, as Mark Twain famously said that whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Hmm, there are so many quotes to inspire people to dream big and be different, and not one suggesting to stop dreaming… it is great if I succeed, but what if I won’t?… After complaining about my life for years, I risk becoming just another person who complains but does nothing about it, and to tell the truth, if I don’t try now, I will never do it, NEVER! And Never is an awfully long time! And then, when I’m 90, I’d wonder how my life would be if I followed my dreams and desires in search of my happiness…
So that is it. I don’t want to wonder “what if” at 90 years old, and I want to love my day to day grind. I won’t let fear of failure make my choices for me. I always wanted a life filled with great loves and great endeavors. I want to travel, scope out undiscovered places, make friends, and tell people’s stories. So here I am, world! It won’t be easy, but I’ll give it all I have…
Thank you for reading my dearests! I can’t wait to read your thoughts and comments, because they mean the world to me!! Aaaaaaand, follow me on Instagram and Youtube where I am sharing my creative business-building journey.
Love you lots!