INTRODUCING HEATHER RAE
As life goes, I used to think I was doing things right.
Now, I’m not so sure.
I went to college, then grad school – I got a solid education. I studied things that interested me, but I wasn’t necessarily following any great passion. I was trying to be practical. I should also confess that I was trying to make other people happy. If I wasn’t attempting to impress a professor, it was a boyfriend or some family member.
After being out of school for a while, life really looked good – on paper, that is. I worked at a prestigious university, had a seven year relationship with a wonderful man, lived in a sought after zip code. Yet, I looked around, and something just wasn’t right. All that time spent impressing someone else left one person completely unimpressed – me.
So I decided it was time to make change. What kind of change? I had no idea. I just knew I needed to inject a little passion in my life.
First things first, I had to figure out what to do about my career. My job might have looked good on a resume, but it certainly didn’t look good on me. It was boring. Really, really, mind-numbingly boring. The good thing about doing work that made picking my hangnails seem entertaining was that I had a lot of time to think.
So I did just that.
I researched, examined, even tried out, nearly every job that seemed remotely interesting. I read every career guide on the library shelf. I took quizzes in magazines, had a psychic read my fortune and met with a career counselor. They all told me the same thing: my personality suited science and research.
What? Seriously, that’s what I already did. The career path was logical, practical and, it seemed, perfectly matched my natural tendencies. Only, I was miserable.
So in the midst of all this career planning, and a seemingly endless lack of ideas, I did something different.
I stopped looking and took up hobbies. I took classes at night at a local community college. I started reading voraciously. I took hula dance lessons and pole dance lessons. I took drawing classes and bought books about art. I started blogging. I started writing. And that’s when it hit me.
I fell in love with the idea of creating something. I wanted to write, make art, dance.
Of course, now that I had this newfound love, what was I supposed to do with it? I’d always been told all this creative stuff made for great hobbies, but it sure as heck didn’t pay the rent. Only a select few got that lucky. And I wasn’t one of the lucky ones.
But then I had this thought: why not? That’s right – why couldn’t I make a career out of writing novels or painting canvasses? What made me limit myself to jobs that seemed practical? There was no good reason. I realized it was all just fear.
I told my fiancé about my wild ideas, perfectly ready to accept the disparaging look he was sure to give. But instead, he cheered. He said I should do it. He was behind me 100%. Wow, maybe I am one of the lucky ones.
So here I am, staring fear in the face. I’m turning it all upside down.
As of last week, I officially quit my job. I’m giving myself one year in which I’ll attempt to have it all (I would give myself a lifetime, but I really do have to eat and pay the rent) – I’m working to finish a novel, exploring the possibility of selling my art and finding time to travel. I want to sleep under the stars, soak in hot tubs in the snow, go cycling, go rock climbing, go skinny dipping, learn another language. I want to do all the things I’ve dreamed about but never had the guts to try.
Maybe I’ll fail. But at least I’ll fail trying. And perhaps – just maybe – I’ll be wildly successful.