Chasin’ Down a Dream Like It Stole My Wallet
It’s bad out there (economically speaking), it’s two months before our mortgage re-adjusts, I just got promoted at my job that’s 2.5 miles from my house and lets me out at 1:00 on Fridays, and I am, in general, a pretty level-headed, responsible gal. Sounds like a recipe for quitting my job to pursue some half-cocked writing endeavor if ever I heard one.
Dear Reader, I did it.
I spent all of Christmas break (to say nothing of the preceding twelve months) waffling over this decision. Then I woke up, showered, packed my lunch and drove to work like I’ve done over a thousand times before. And as I walked up to the building, I knew I couldn’t pass through those doors one more time, knowing there was somewhere else I should be instead.
What took me so long?
Oh, you know – a little thing called stability. Money. The dream of a California backyard larger than a floppy disk (whoa – did I just date myself?).
But what about our other dreams? Once the fright wears off, we tend to forget that most of the good in our lives came from taking some kind of risk. Like almost everyone else in LA, I wound up here after driving thousands of miles in a crappy Honda to sign on a $1,500/month studio lease with no money, job, prospects or friends. I moved in with my now-husband Drew after knowing him only five months. And scariest of all, this was after meeting him on Myspace (whoa – dating myself again).
Risky business! All well and good for a young, single, California-bound Liz. But when I delivered my news at the office, I was reminded that when you become someone’s mom, it’s not just your future you’re gambling with anymore on these nutty schemes. Most of my co-workers were happy for me, said fluffed-up things like I better get a signed first edition! But a few wretched souls actually grabbed me by the arms, shook me, and said, “Do this now! Do it while you’re still young.”
[Cut-away to wistful look off into the distance.]
“Do it while you don’t have kids.”
C-R-I-P-E-S. Parenthood: where dreams go to die? At the very least, they’re not making a very enticing case for it. One of them even told me she wonders all the time what would have happened if she hadn’t folded on the custom jewelry company she was trying to start when her boys were young and required too much of her time. None of them told me you CAN’T achieve your dreams once you have kids. It just seems to make it infinitely harder.
Some people can do it all – those people are better than me. I read an interview with Sara Gruen once (author of Water for Elephants: A Novel) where she was asked how she was able to finish the book with all the distractions of family life. Her response? She locked herself in a walk-in closet with a pair of foam headphones until it was done.
Sara Gruen, I am not. This infernal novel I’m forever re-writing would wind up in Draft 2 purgatory, indefinitely.
So what’s up with this quitting thing? Am I trying to get my one crazy thing out of the way now, so when the time comes to have kids, I can say that I’ve squeezed the very pith out of my singular existence? Or, am I purposely (subconsciously) setting Drew and I behind, so that by the time we feel financially ready to have kids, we’ll be too old? (My subconscious is distressingly calculating at times.)
Who knows. What I do know is that I’ll now have more time to cipher on this, more time to write better blog posts, and more time to finish the novel. Please wish me luck, friends. I’m going to need it – desperately.
Tell me: Am I the only one out there, acting like a fool? What’s the scariest thing you ever did, and are you glad you did it?
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