“Compare where you are to where you want to be and you’ll get nowhere.”
-Sara Bareilles, “Uncharted”
I’ve told you before about how I’m learning to take control of my own life. I have officially been “unemployed” for more than a month now, and while there are difficult days, I would say I’m doing a fairly good job of keeping myself happy and taking control of my destiny.
I was talking to my long-time friend Julie today for the first time in a couple weeks and I had a lot to fill her in on. I hadn’t told her about the freelancing I’m doing for the one company, nor about other opportunities that are out there, how the job search is going, etc. The things I’ve been keeping the people I talk to every day informed of.
I told her about the editing job I’m working on now, which is a repeat client. I told her about how I turned in my first article for the company I’m subcontracting for and got great feedback on it. How I just submitted my second article to them today, with a third due in a week. How it’s a great opportunity with people who appreciate the hard work writers put into their pieces and it’s probably the best freelancing gig I could have landed.
I told her how my hometown tourism article has had a decent amount of views, received good comments and earned me a little bit of cash. How I desperately need to write more articles for that website so I can make the best of it.
I told her about how this online travel writing course I am taking begins tomorrow, and how I am so unbelievably psyched for it that I bought the “Best of Lonely Planet Travel Writing” book yesterday at Barnes & Noble because someone once told me you should read what you want to write. (I don’t think I’ve mentioned the class on the blog before, but I am completely stoked for it and can’t wait to see what I can learn from it!)
And when I was finished telling her all this, she said to me:
“I think it’s really fabulous how you quit your job because you were unhappy with it, but you’re not just sitting around waiting for a job that you love to fall into your lap. You’re being really proactive and doing what you need to do to get where you want to go. You’re so baller.”
And that’s what I’m really trying to do. Rather than just sending résumés out into the universe and hoping for the best, I’m taking the steps I need to be taking. I’m educating myself, I’m getting experience, I’m building my portfolio of work. I’m taking control.
As my BFF Sara Bareilles* sings in that lovely lyric up at the top of this post, if all you do is compare where you are to where you want to be, you’re not going to get anywhere. Instead, I’m embracing where I am right now, thinking about where I want to be, and planning how to get there.
I don’t know how to get there yet – no one does. Because no one has ever done exactly the same thing as me. No one can tell me the neat and tidy paved path through the ups and downs for me to reach my goal. No one has had precisely my experiences with precisely my goals and precisely my personality, determination, or motivation. No one can figure this out but me. I can get help along the way, of course, but we all know I’m not that good at figuring out how to ask for help.
For me, the path is uncharted. I don’t know where it’s taking me yet, but I am confident it will take me where I’m supposed to be going. That’s what happens when you follow your heart. You may kick yourself when the bills come in and you see your bank account dwindling, but you know in your heart that you are far happier now than you were two months ago. (Although two months ago I was preparing to leave for Jamaica, so that may not be entirely true.)
But hey, even if I stumble over a few roots or get lost along the way, I’m still taking the right path.
“I won’t go as a passenger, no
Waiting for the road to be laid
Though I may be going down
I’ll take in flames over burning out.”
Preach it, Sara. I’d rather go down by failing at what I love than burning out on something I hate.
And hey, no matter what, my oldest friend in the world thinks I’m a baller… it’s gotta be true, right? I mean, she’s not biased or anything…