It begins with a realization that I had just yesterday. I was sitting at a craft table, painting a stool in superhero colors for an upcoming big project. I was talking student loans with my friend Chris because co-incidentally I had recently gotten a statement letting me know that I still owe about $20k for my MBA. The MBA that I busted my hump to earn. That would enable me to become a manager and climb the corporate ladder (or whatever). And now I’m a stool painter (laugh if you like!).
And I say that sarcastically, because really, it’s the best job in the world.
Last January I quit my job to do this full time. The first Monday after I quit my job, I said to myself, “oh ____, what have I done?” Since then, I haven’t worried about what is going to happen to me or where the next paycheck is going to come from. I just work hard. I realize that not everyone has that luxury and that working hard for some still doesn’t pay the bills . . . and trust me, I am thankful. I’m a pretty anxiety ridden person, so it’s actually nice to not worry about something. My career just isn’t one of those things I fret about (trust me, there are plenty of other things!).
I think part of the reason I have ended up where I am now is because I never really had a career path. I started out college majoring in biology and art. Then I dropped art because I didn’t think I could make any money doing it – and I really didn’t know how to use a degree like that. Then I got a forestry degree at the University of Washington because I liked trees and hiking. But still, I wasn’t sure where to take that. Can you hike for a living? Which brings me to a memory. I took a job interview at an environmental engineering firm after college and I met the guy (don’t remember his name) at a restaurant called Palominos in downtown Seattle. I don’t remember much about that dinner – I don’t even remember if I got a job offer or not. But I do remember that after dinner I was given a fortune from the restaurant. I folded it open and it said something like “life is what happens when you are making other plans.” Little did I know that would be a foreshadowing of the rest of my life. I kept that in my car for a long time to remind myself of it, but I didn’t truly understand it until now. After ELEVEN jobs since I graduated with that Forestry degree.
I mean, I’m 36 and I haven’t taken the traditional path on anything. I’m not married. I live alone. I don’t have children. I went back and got a graduate degree as an adult. I don’t wear makeup. I like motorcycles and cars. I blog and freelance for a living now. And I really do love it. This is the life I was meant to live.
Last year was a really rough year for me. I moved away from Atlanta only to move back three months later. I had difficulties in my significant relationship. I got really disappointed in one of my brothers and his choice in a spouse. I lived with my parents and struggled with our relationships. And it took time to figure out how to make freelance work. I remember waking up in bed a few times thinking I was going to have a heart attack because things felt a bit overwhelming. It’s taken time, but everything has settled. My career is doing well. My boyfriend and I have figured things out. I’m getting along with my family. Are things perfect? No. But they are never going to be, and I don’t expect that.
So in all of that lies the update, and some interesting thoughts. I guess if you are like me, and painting things with superhero colors, embrace it. Because it’s where we are supposed to be, right?
Now I’d love to hear from you. I said “I got an MBA so I could paint things in superhero colors.” Answer this question: I got an __________ so that I could ____________. It can be anything, and it doesn’t have to mean you don’t like what you are doing now!