(How your fear and lack of passion are toxic to your well being.)
I quit my job.
About two months ago I quit my job as a paramedic to go all in on my writing. I had found my true love and you readers are all a part of it. I want to be a writer. At 31 years old I had finally found what I wanted to do for a living. When I was a kid I never knew what I wanted to be. When my elementary school teacher asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up I would always say “cowboy” or “scientist”. Two very different jobs of course but that’s always been me, kind of a contradiction. I never did say “writer” though. That’s because I figured out my passion late in life and I would venture to guess many of us did the same thing. We change our minds many many times because we are human and that ability is beautiful. But how many of us are brave enough to actually pursue it? We grew up in a world that preaches both job security and “follow your dreams” but I don’t think those two things are possible. When I told my coworkers I was going to quit I got two types of reactions 1) “Good for you” and 2) “You’re crazy in this economy, what are you going to do for money?” That leads me to two conclusions. One, we are too complacent. Two, we are too afraid to take risks. No one ever grew up saying “I want to be a janitor” but some of us are. There’s nothing wrong with being a janitor if it’s fueling your passion (meaning you either love that job or it’s just paying the bills while you get to create sculptures in your free time) but if you are there because you settled then there is everything wrong with this. This is why you’re dying inside. You lost your passion.
So I took the leap and quit my job. I did it because that’s the brave stupidity that I run my life with. Courage isn’t acting without fear it’s acting despite fear, and you bet your ass I’m afraid. But I took a risk to let The Universe (what some of you may call “God”) know that I am all in on this. I wanted The Universe to hear my roar and pay attention to me. Then when she does recognize my efforts she will nudge me in the right direction and send some luck my way. Because I truly believe once the Universe notices your effort it will respond with results. But you just have to have faith. You have to blindly take the leap and just know at the bottom of the chasm there will be a net for you.
You have to prepare for the consequences of your actions though. The daily self doubt of your work. The having to eat spaghetti more times in a week then you’d like to admit. The having to explain to each girl you meet that you don’t have a job and be willing to put up with the instant negative judgment. This disdain from others because your boldness is threatening their precious bubble of complacency. The fact that a month from now you may end up bagging groceries at Trader Joe’s because you can’t find another job. The fact that you may not succeed and there may not be a net at the bottom of that cliff. But surely if you had the gall to take that leap you can’t believe there won’t be something at the bottom. The type of people that go “all in” never believe things wont’ work out because you can’t. You have to have faith. In order to succeed you have to believe. You have to know that when you keep fighting you will win because you will not give up. Failure is not a possibility, only success.
About this time any responsible adult would give you the disclaimer that “and if you fail at least you tried, at least you can die happy knowing you gave it a shot”. But I say fuck that. If you keep working hard and have faith there is absolutely positively no way you can fail. You will succeed. If you’re complacent it’s because you’re afraid. You’re afraid to “follow your dreams” because of the negative voice in your head that says “yea but this…” and “yea but that…”. There are always a million reasons to not do something but there’s only one good reason to do something, because you love it. Paint with passion. Exercise with passion. Travel with passion. Connect with passion. Love another with passion. Write with passion.
If you pursue it with dedication, faith, and passion you will succeed.
[Photo: Arches National Park in Utah during Sunset]