A full 45 minutes after my latest layoff, I am running through a list of options with The Scientist.
“I should find a job right away. Any job.”
“No wait, I should find two jobs right away. Have a backup. I should work two jobs and make up for losing two jobs!”
“I should go back to school and make my parents happy.”
“I should make a list of everything I have ever done wrong so that I never ever repeat my mistakes!!”
Ok, stop. The Scientist hands me a glass of wine and reminds me gently to take some time for myself. “Every sentence about your future begins with the words ‘I should,” she says. “This is your life. Nobody is making you do anything. So what do you want to do?”
Well that’s a new one. I have never thought about my career in terms of what I want to do. I’ve just been good at whatever job I’ve fallen into. Work is work and that is why people are paid for it. My life outside of work is for the things I want to do. The hours of writing before, after and during the lunch break of my work day are repaid many times over with the joy of expressing emotions and thoughts that heretofore had no voice. The pinpricks and back pains from nights bent over a mobile I was sewing or a pop-up book I was constructing disappear in the satisfaction of each completed project. The memories of creations past float through my mind like a personal art parade. I devote time and energy to all those things without being asked or told or paid.
“Work does not have to be just work. People find ways of working within what they love.” The Scientist pours me another glass of wine as I let her point sink in. I decide to find a way to make a living doing what I love. Not because I should, but because I finally realize the possibilities open to me. I thoughtfully take a sip (ok fine, a gulp) and begin to plan.
Since the world has been kicking me in the balls this past year, the plan is based on letting it tell me what I should do. I will simply work hard and remain open to the possibilities.
1. Write in every style, genre and format possible, no matter how unfamiliar.
2. Submit my writing to every contest, website and publication that will have me.
3. Continue creating and volunteering to work on art projects.
4. Apply to any and all jobs which could lead to the ultimate goal of Doing What I Love (DWIL).
5. Research university programs which could lead to the ultimate goal of DWIL’ing.
6. Create acronyms and instantly use them as different parts of speech.
Ok, I’m kidding about the last one. I can’t help myself. But you know me and you know that and that’s really why you’re here anyway. None of that deep soul-searching crap.
My plan involves a lot, and it already has me working very hard. But I figure if I’m pushing towards a life that I want then it behooves me to push with everything I’ve got. I’m just glad I have good company. Yes, this means you. Don’t be coy.
Coming up: The Script-tease Club (not as sexy as it sounds) and Of Pride and Prejudice and Porn (an obvious rip-off of the popular zombie book by a hopefully non-litigious author).