April 16, 2001
It’s only been one week since everything started. One week. It feels like an eternity. I have flipped my world upside-down. I have given up security, sanity and life as I know it. And right now, I’m not too sure what to make of it all.
The first weekend in April, I took a train trip to Vancouver and stayed overnight for a little getaway. That’s when I came to the decision to quit my job and become a writer. I gave my notice of resignation to my boss, the president of the company, and he told me too keep it quiet. He said to me, “I’m not sure what to tell people why you’re leaving.”
“You can tell them it’s because I’m going to write.” I said.
“No, that doesn’t make sense.”
All week long I wanted to take my resignation back. I thought, What the hell am I doing? I’m really good at my job. I actually like a lot of people there. I make a lot o money. I can buy anything, go anywhere and do anything. I contribute to my savings. I have a place to go everyday. Why am I walking away from all this when I have no idea what I’m walking toward? I was filled with such self-doubt, it was almost unbearable. The euphoria I had felt over realizaing the need to live my passion was short lived. I wondered if I was making the biggest mistake of my life.
On Friday the 13th I drove alone to Vancouver. I stayed with a friend, a woman who could help me find my center. She’s 57, very creative, extremely interesting and completely compassionate. She listened to me talk about my uncertainty and then advised me over a mocha and popcorn, “to give it a try.”
“If one does not succeed, that does not mean failure,” she said. “Look at all the wonderful singers and artists that are out there – some made it big, others did not, and that does not mean that they failed. They lived truly, and that is never failure.” I realized that I’d be an unhappy executive, no matter how much money I’d make. I have to be happy in what I do. There is so much to do and see and WRITE.
“Go for it. If you don’t, you’ll grow old and say, “‘I should have.'” I hugged her, filled with new resolve.
Then I returned to work. Today, word got out to the senior managers that I resigned last week. The president has told them to keep it quiet for now, despite the fact that this Friday is my last day. My boss thinks that if word gets out that I’m leaving, morale will get even lower.
The doubt came back when he said that. I’m good at my job. I’m central to the company. The employees I supervise and manage think I’m the best boss ever. Can I really tell people, “Sorry, you’re on your own?” I started to feel guilty.
The senior managers approached me throughout the day and asked why I was leaving. “Are you getting more money somewhere else?” they’d ask.
“No,” I said. “I’m going to write.”
“I’m not sure right now.”
“What? You mean you don’t have a job to go to?”
Eventually, most of them were really supportive. I got the sense that they wished they could go chase their dreams too. But for now the transition is awkward. There are a lot of people I haven’t told yet because I haven’t been allowed to, and I know their reactions will be negative. Some people have a hard time dealing with other’s success, ambition, or happiness. Jealousy can be a real bitch.
So for now I’m just finishing up work, processing reactions (both mine and others’), and basically trying to get through each day. It’s hard. Living your dream is really hard work, which is why, I suspect, most people do not live their dreams. I’m not, however, most people. I’m going to chase mine – hard. Even if nothing big ever comes of it, I have to try. I have to know.
I’ve asked myself all the “what if” questions this past week like: What if I don’t make money? What if I get lazy? What if I end up like so-and-so who has talent but sits around all day afraid of the world? What if I really don’t have talent? But I figure the only what if question that really matters is: What if I don’t try this?