I gave my resignation yesterday for my part-time job, in order to pursue writing as my sole career (aside from mothering, of course). I was approached in August, 2009 by my boss, who is a friend, to come and work part-time writing ads for a newspaper and doing other administrative functions.
I wasn't considering returning to work at that time, with a child about to start Grade 1 and a 3 year old, but a few days before she called I had that still, small voice whisper to me that it was time for a change. When the phone rang with the request about the job, I wasn't surprised because I had already been nudged in that direction. After six years out of the workforce, I was nervous walking into the office for the first time and settling back in to an office job.
The first few weeks and months of anything new are always rocky and stressful, and then suddenly you find your groove, and you aren't thinking about each step anymore. You simply do your tasks, and compared to the uphill climb at the beginning, it feels like flying. I loved that stage of this job.
I also fully embraced the connection I made with myself again after six years of being home with my kids. Ava was doing well in Grade 1, and after a bumpy start, William was slowly warming up to preschool and his dayhome for the twelve hours a week I was at work. It was as though I looked in the mirror during those hours each week and said, "Oh, hello. It's you! How are things?"
Connecting with our true selves is a powerful thing. I discovered that after a period of dormancy when I was focused on diapers and nursing and potty training and discipline, my personality was still intact. I just needed to coax it out into the light and become reacquainted with it all over again.
Work gave me that opportunity. The chance to go for lunch with my co-workers and just be myself, with no kids to fuss over or hide behind. The revelation that I was competent at the job, that my brain still functioned, was marvelous to me. I also learned to be gracious with myself when I made mistakes, a lesson I couldn't seem to learn in my previous office career before I had kids. I realized that my children have softened me in a way that I really like. I'm much more sensitive and relaxed than I've ever been before, and I've come a long way to be able to truthfully write that sentence.
I've been writing consistently the whole time I've been working, and a few weeks ago a shift began to happen for me. I knew I'd been working toward writing as my sole occupation, but hadn't completely replaced the income I'd be losing if I let go of my job, but suddenly that still, small voice was back. I listened, and I heard, through the book I'm reading, that the time had come for a leap of faith. I posed the question, "Do you believe in yourself?" and I found the answer was a resounding, "Yes." That made my decision for me.
It's a bit like the chicken and the egg: did my confidence in myself to try for a writing life come because of my part-time job, or was it there all along and I just couldn't see it? All of life is like this. One thing leads into another, and then something else after that. When you look back, you can see the winding paths that lead you from one place to another, and you realize as you get older how interconnected all of the roads are.
If you will listen to yourself, and follow your desires, all roads will lead back to you and your abilities. To be able to earn money doing what you love is unbelievably satisfying. I'm so grateful for the experiences I've had over the past year. I'm going to enjoy winding down my time in this office environment, and then turn the page on the next chapter of my life. I can hardly wait to write in it.