Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Oversharing with Kristin. I am your host, Kristin!
*hold for applause*
So. During the week of Thanksgiving, I lost my job. My employment was terminated. I was kicked to the curb. I got fired.
And it sucked.
Granted, this was not a great job. I worked at a pub, serving beer and burgers to drunk college students, and cleaning up vomit when they all went home. But the quality of my job was not very important to me, because it paid my bills and bought me grocery and occasionally there was enough left over for me to see a movie. And because my job did all those things, I convinced myself I was happy with it.
I called my mom to tell her the news. She admitted later that, when I said I'd been fired, there were two thoughts that ran through her head simultaneously: "oh dear" and "thank God."
When I asked about the "thank God" response, she said simply, "Now you can write."
Because, if I was honest with myself, I hadn't been writing. I'd been working full time, going to bed late, waking up early, drinking lots of beer, scrubbing lots of toilets, eating lots of greasy pub food... but I definitely hadn't been writing. My job was exhausting, physically and emotionally and creatively; at the end of the day, I didn't have the energy for anything but tv and naps.
There were few weeks, before I lost my job, when I looked into freelance writing; but I decided to stick with waiting tables, because that was what I knew. I was afraid to try - afraid to fail - so I stuck with work that was safe even though it made me unhappy.
And that was why my mother was thanking God when the pub cut me loose.
Shortly after being fired, I started freelance writing. I don't come home with pockets full of tip money anymore; but I finally have time to work on my manuscript, to do a job that I love and find fulfilling. I have time to see my family on weekends. I've been to all my sister's college plays. I'm painting and drawing and creating again.
And I realized that losing a job is nothing compared to losing your joy.
My point in telling this story is to encourage you. There was nothing wrong with my restaurant job; there is nothing wrong with being an accountant, or a teacher, or a CEO, or a janitor... unless those jobs are taking more than they are giving. If they are killing your creativity, your joy, your sense of self, your energy, your family, your friends... I don't believe it's worth it.
We have to make time for our dreams. We have to relentlessly pursue our passion and our art, despite the obstacles that come our way. And yes, sometimes we have to work that crappy job; sometimes we don't have the privilege of quitting and starting from scratch. But we can set the alarm, wake up an hour before work, and write. We can carve thirty minutes from our lunch our to scratch notes on a post-it pad. We can start the morning with loud music and open windows and wild dancing. We can finger paint. We can learn an instrument, even if we learn it badly.
Please take care of your soul. Fight for it. The world will try to kill it, try to reduce you to a machine. Don't let it. Do what you must in order to let your heart thrive. Do scary things; do hard things. Do things that don't make sense to anyone else. It's okay. It'll be worth it, in the long run.
Also - virtual drinks, on me. Because I can't serve you real beer anymore.
(p.s. i discovered these great articles along with that great "dream job" picture. they're all about how to purse your passions, even when you're working at pubs and stuff. and although it's not geared toward writers and artists, it's worth a read.)