This post is a response Laura’s writing workshop. This week we are working on free writing without editing, following through on an impulse.
I’m on the verge of unemployment, with one week left in my summer job. I quit my job in Cape Cod in favor of relocating to Southern California – my home. I hoped that part-time summer employment would allow some serious soul-searching and to figure out what I really want to do with my life. I mean, how can I spend 25 years on this planet and not have a clue?!
I loved my previous job as a high school teacher. One may think that teenagers are a hard group to love, but loving them came easy. They need it so much. How difficult my transition has been is certainly a testament to how much I loved my job and my life back east. And yet, somehow, it still feels like I absolutely made the right decision — even though I’m not where I hoped I’d be at this point in my life.
Enlightenment hit me over the head last week and I realized that I have known, all along, my ideal career. My frequent trips to the library, my love for local bookstores, the fact that I fill pages upon pages of my journal daily, and constantly have an overly-ambitious list of books that I want to read…hello, I’m a writer. I read through my first diary (a gift for my 9th birthday) and I listed the potential careers I wanted: Olympian, astronaut, teacher, author. Well, it turns out I’m not Olympic material, but I’ll still enjoy triathlons. College astrophysics apparently satisfied me enough, I did the teacher thing for the past three years, and now…
Yeah. So I’m really scared of this whole writing thing. Like, really freaking scared. The vulnerability required to put your thoughts out there for everybody to read. The fact that newspapers are dying. Freelancing is not exactly a steady paycheck.
Also, this is a new career path, and who’s going to want me? I’ve written a few speeches that were very well-received and I took an online writing course through coursera.org. Is that enough experience for an internship? Hire me?
“You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts.
You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth.
But that’s all.”
This is an excerpt from Cheryl Strayed.