Taking the first step on any path, I feel, is the hardest. There’s that inertia, the desire to stick to what you know. Walk for a while in the unknown and there might be monsters.
You might get lost.
You might lose.
Or get eaten.
That last isn’t too likely, unless your path takes you with the Donner Party. In which case, yeah, your instinctual reluctance might be on to something.
Today I took a leap. Left the full-time working-for-the-man job. It was a good one – great benefits, relatively flexible working conditions, but they expected too many hours. 50-60 most weeks, and most of the time on the road. It was a job I enjoyed until I found this one. Until I started the tentative steps down this path years ago.
Dreams are insidious sometimes, working their way into your subconscious and staying there. Hovering in the background during every non-essential meeting, during every day you spend doing things you know you don’t quite love. It’s a weird quirk of culture that so much media harps on the idea of following your dreams. That so much technology exists now, in cheaper options than ever before, to pursue your dreams. And yet, and yet, there’s the hesitation. The weighing of scales that says hey, you got a good thing going here, don’t screw with it just to chase some dream. What are you, five?
So I tricked myself. Started saving. The idea being that if I could get enough cash to float myself for a year or more, then I could take a shot. I used raw numbers. The mortgage payment. Taxes. Food and, yeah, some sort of leisure, because I am not a machine that exists only to write. And I built up the account.
While that was happening, I experimented. Took those spare hours and indulged the dream. Gave it tastes. Formed the LLC. Started writing in the mornings and evenings. Gobbled up blogs and podcasts for hours every week. Eventually the dream would get anxious again though and drag me further off my beaten path.
Get an Adobe license. Learn how to edit. Get a website, a logo. ISBNs.
When I came back from the holidays this year, I looked at those raw numbers, the manuscripts for my novels, and I couldn’t fight it anymore.
In an hour, my company email address will die. I’ve turned in the keycard. When I remember to update Linkedin, I’ll be listed as my own boss.
I’ve walked far enough down the path that the next step is a cliff. Jump off, there’s no easy way back.
Here I go.